Live at Worthy Farm's technical nightmare shouldn't discredit this ambitious event
A view from Mike White

Live at Worthy Farm's technical nightmare shouldn't discredit this ambitious event

Despite some attendees being denied access, the 'virtual Glastonbury' showed that with compelling content, even the most discerning fans can be won over

If, like me, you were one of the many thousands who tuned in to Live at Worthy Farm at the weekend, you would have been treated to iconic Glastonbury performances from the likes of Coldplay, Haim and Michael Kiwanuka, with some reviews describing the overall experience as leaving you both "emotional and exhausted at the same time". There was also the familiar downpour to contend with and the whole event really brought to the fore just how close we may be to a return to live music events on this scale.

For some ticketholders though, Saturday was a day of disappointment, after technical problems meant they were unable to access the livestream they had paid £20 to see.

Live at Worthy Farm is also a stark reminder of how one must always be prepared for the unexpected where live events are concerned. It showed that one of the hardest challenges with livestreams is ensuring the ticket process works, but it also highlighted just how compelling virtual music performances can be when creativity and artistry work together seamlessly. The content was amazing – a human approach with a simple rawness, from counting in the songs to camera effects in the round.

It is so unfortunate Glastonbury encountered problems, particularly as this project was designed to support Worthy Farm and all the teams and workers who’ve suffered financially over the last year. If there is anything to learn, it’s probably around the customer service: more communication around what was happening and a faster response would have been helpful.

Much of the disappointment from music fans was from coming to the party late, and then not being able to rewind to the livestream from the beginning, so some fans inevitably missed out on performances. Glastonbury has done the next best thing though  offering free access to the livestream for a set period of time for those who may have missed out. This is not a far cry from what fans get treated to when the real-life Glastonbury is staged, with many at home tuning it to the highlights on the BBC. So in some ways, just like with the rain on Saturday, we are back on familiar ground, giving music fans what they want  the chance to listen and watch iconic music performances.

Going back to the glitches, given the positioning of this event as a not-for-profit, it’s safe to assume the teams involved were extremely focused on trying to fix the solution. Whether it was a coding difficulty or database issue in the ticketing process, we should commend the efforts of this event and focus on the positive and the lessons we can learn from this.

Staging an ambitious event virtually is more than possible  Live at Worthy Farm has proved this, and even when technical glitches threaten to derail proceedings, with compelling content, even the most discerning and hard-to-please fans can be won over.

We’d like to congratulate everyone who put their time and effort into this event, and praise the efforts of everyone over the past 14 months who’ve kept us connected and entertained. The big positive here is that the Farm should stay afloat, and the people who lost their jobs get some support – it’s a better effort than we’ve seen from our politicians. And after all, there was always Eurovision.

Mike White is chief executive and co-founder of Lively

Photo: Glastonbury fans will have to wait till 2022 for the festival's full sensory experience (Ki Price/Getty Images)

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