An online audience of 1.7 million viewers across 120 countries for a 23-year-old wildly popular event being held virtually for the first time. And… with only two weeks prep time to pull it all together. What could go wrong?
Quite a bit unless you’ve engaged with the right live-streaming provider. Production company FabriQ Media Group chose to partner with Red Bee Media for the 2021 edition of De Vrienden van Amstel (Friends of Amstel), on behalf of Tribe Company.
De Vrienden van Amstel is a pop culture phenomenon in the Netherlands, growing to legendary status since launching in 1998. The annual multi-day concert and entertainment festival attracts leading international music acts while drawing as many as 150,000 attendees to the Ahoy Rotterdam arena.
In the fall of 2020, festival organizers faced a serious dilemma: while most forms of live entertainment, including concerts, were still dark due to COVID-19 restrictions, fan interest and demand were still high. In fact, despite most acknowledgements that the festival wouldn’t go on, advance ticket sales were still going strong.
There were two options: postpone the event for 2021 or find an alternative.
“It became clear pretty quickly that we needed to do something,” said Tim Verhulsdonck, founder and managing partner of FabriQ Media Group. “We could not leave this festival dead for a year. Can we run it online?”
Verhulsdonck had worked with Red Bee on previous high-profile events and was confident in their OTT platform’s ability to deliver the hundreds of thousands of high-quality streams that would be required to make this event logistically possible online.
Making the user experience as easy and smooth as possible was top priority for recreating the festival’s high-energy vibe in an immersive and dynamic virtual environment. Also key, was avoiding the usual issues associated with live-streamed online events: buffering, image blocking and poor sound.