Melbourne International Jazz Festival
'These Digital Times'
In 2020, the Performing Arts sector flew under the radar as one of the hardest hit sectors by COVID-19 lockdown laws. The entire industry was effectively shut down, as artists were unable to perform, or rehearse together for the majority of the year, significantly affecting their financial and mental wellbeing, as well as their motivation to produce creative works.
Recognizing this problem as a potential area in need of urgent funding, the Vizard Foundation approached the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF) with an idea to fund and stage a series of digital performances that would showcase Australian artists performing live in a COVID-safe manner; providing an important opportunity for local artists to be financially supported to perform and broadcast their works to an audience at a time when such opportunities were otherwise non-existent.
Having just announced the cancellation of their physical festival for 2020, the MIJF had also been exploring similar concepts in the digital sphere, and were quick to embrace this initiative. Ultimately, with the help of the Vizard Foundation, the MIJF were able to deliver a fully live-streamed jazz festival program ‘These Digital Times’, with three full days of performances from leading Australian and international performers broadcast live to living rooms across the globe.
‘These Digital Times’ saw the MIJF achieve record levels of online engagement, leveraging the festival’s strong online presence to broadcast world class local musicians to a global audience. An additional benefit of this was that all audio and video was recorded and broadcast in high definition, and then handed back to the performers, providing them with high quality media assets to use for their own artistic/promotional purposes, something that had previously been identified as lacking in the sector.
Many of these performances have since received airplay on ABC Jazz, and were so well received that the MIJF subsequently commissioned a compilation CD featuring highlights from all the local artists that performed.