Virtual parties take centre stage amid COVID-19


Virtual parties take centre stage amid COVID-19

Observer West writer

Thursday, April 02, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James - Following the order by the Government for a ban on nightclubs and public events, which has subsequently been reinforced with a national curfew, local entertainers and DJs have been getting creative and utilising Instagram live feeds to cater to the entertainment needs of the public.

The trend, which also features internationally, has been garnering attention from CEOs, to politicians and public figures including Mark Zuckerberg, Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama, who recently tuned into American disc jock D Nice's Instagram Live party dubbed 'Homeschool at Club Quarantine'.

In western Jamaica, DJs Crazy Neil, YM Entertainment, Blu, Jer, Theron, as well as entities such as Pier One and some weekly party series, have hosted Instagram Live parties with scores of people tuning to experience partying 'quarantine style'.

Neil “DJ Crazy Neil” Barnes explained that while the concept is not new, the resurgence and the number of participants have certainly increased.

“The streaming of parties is something that we did around 2008 on platforms such as UStream, also when Digicel launched their 4G operations, I was selected as one of the international DJs that played here in Jamaica and that was in turn used as a broadcast to countries including Holland. So locally, when we realised that everyone would have to be inside, we decided to utilise that method, and Instagram Live made for a good outlet,” said Barnes.

“Other DJs, including Tony Matterhorn and members of Coppershot Music, have been hosting virtual parties as well, and the response has been really good. Persons are appreciative of it, and we have even secured paid jobs from as far as Florida.”

Several organisers of events that have been postponed because of the ban due to COVID-19 have also used the medium to further promotional activities.

Last Sunday, the Caribbean Influencer Marketing Summit hosted a virtual concert.

“We had performances from Diel, Rosh Rebel, Kali Grn and Courtni and the response was exceptional. We had over 1,700 persons viewing the stream on Buzz Caribbean's website, the stream was also available on Facebook and Instagram. We have decided to host the event again this Sunday and performances will be delivered by Warrior King and Indie Allen,” explained Londie Murray, a member of the organising team for the summit.

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