Sansar and VRJAM: of Lost Horizon and music festivals

Lost Horizon: Nomad Stage, Saturday, July 4th, 2020

Friday July 3rd and Saturday July 4th, 2020 marked the Glastonbury Shangri-La music festival in Sansar, my observations of which appear in Glastonbury in Sansar: post event observations. Others have also written about the event, but what most of us appeared to miss in the run-up to it, is that just a few days ahead of the event a press release was made by Wookey Technologies and UK-based VRJAM that revealed the event’s title, Lost Horizon, is intended to be a “wrapper” for a long-term partnership between the two companies, aimed at making the Lost Horizon name (brand?) “the world’s first turnkey VR festival venue.”

In particular, the press release, which I caught via Businesswire over the weekend, noted:

Lost Horizon, which kicks off July 3 and 4 with the largest arts and music festival in virtual reality, will continue to host live events and festivals this year – allowing countless artists the opportunity to monetize their performances through ticketing, tipping, and the sale of virtual merchandise.

– via Businesswire, June 29th, 2020

It’s not clear at this point in time what other events will be held under the Lost Horizon banner, but speaking to EDMIdentity, Robin Collings, founding director of Glastonbury Shangri-La, and one of the driving forces behind Lost Horizon itself, intimated that as well as purely digital / virtual events, Lost Horizon could in the future (presumably post-pandemic) add physical events in the mix:

We’d really like to tour a project next year and mix Virtual and Physical events in real-time… and we have some more really exciting events in the Lost Horizon world lined up! Watch this space! 

– Robin Collings, talking to EDM Identity

Wookey Technology Products website lists Sansar as a “subsidiary”, rather than a “product”, which potentially raises some interesting questions for future consideration

How such a mixing pans out remains to be seen. In the meantime, the press release also helps to understand just how broad in scope developing and executing Lost Horizon Shangri-La actually was:

For the inaugural show, VRJAM has utilised a team of 80+ people in 12 countries to deliver performances by over 70 music artists and a virtual reality music experience of unparalleled beauty and detail. The effort marks the first time a VR event will engage multiple A-list music artists simultaneously.

– via Businesswire, June 29th, 2020

The Sansar mobile app lets users view events from cameras positioned around the stage(s).

Another point of interest within the press release, relates to the the Sansar app (iOS and Android, and released just ahead of the Shangri-La event) and the direction planned for it – and potentially how central it may become to audience attraction.

Built using the Agora real-time engagement platform, the app is currently geared towards streaming events from Sansar to consumers. However, over time it will evolve to allow deeper levels of interaction, including chatting with other event attendees (watchers?), and (eventually) avatar creation – and thus, presumably, direct access into events from mobile devices.

This latter point clearly interesting: what capabilities will they have? How will they be managed? Sansar already requires some hefty computing capabilities; it’s hard to see mobile devices handling that kind of ompf directly – so might it be that Sansar may offer some form of back-end streaming capability, a-la SL Go (to offer a Second Life parallel)? If so, might this in turn open other opportunities for Sansar.

But even outside of such future considerations, offering direct, camera-based streaming out of Sansar venues (as seen with the Shangri-La event) could do much to leverage audience viewing of events, perhaps tied to some nominal fee for doing so, to help monetise things.

As mentioned above, there do not appear to be any further VRJAM related events in the Sansar calendar right now (or at least, none bearing the VRJAM logo); which is not to say there are no further “live” music events planned.  A glance at the Codex/Atlas page reveals a mix of music events in with the rest, including Monstercat’s on-going Call of the Wild sessions (which seem to be registering less in the way of advanced interest in the past, but I’ve no idea of actual attendance, not having been to one since last October(ish).

According to the Sansar app, some of these events will be offered for streaming – such as the July 17th/18th (or 18th/19th for those in time zones equating to AEST) “@ the Inaverse!” event. This will feature Dutch-Australian trace DJ Marlo Hoogstraten in what is being described as a “new virtual world”, suggesting these “@ the Inaverse” events will be a new regular Sansar feature.

In the meantime, those wishing to get a journalist’s view on the Lost Horizon Shangri-La event should check out Kyle Melnick’s write-up for VR Scout, or watch his video, below.

My thanks to Loki Eliot for the pointer to the EDM Identity interview with Robin Collings.

5 thoughts on “Sansar and VRJAM: of Lost Horizon and music festivals

    1. Not really curious given the majority of people at Wookey working on Sansar are former Linden Lab employees – born of the fact that Sansar was initially developed by Linden Lab, who let go of the staff when they decided to sell the platform. Some of those former staff actually helped to make the deal with Wookey happen.

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        1. Sheri took over running of Sansar while at the Lab in 2019 as her core focus. Given her position, she was very probably a key player in bringing about the deal with Wookey, and also appears to have been central in the pivot towards making Sansar a music event driven platform and initiating the various partnerships that have been under development around that push. So again, A move from Linden Lab to Wookey isn’t that odd: in many respects, it make sense for Wookey to want to have her hand on the tiller – she knows the Sansar team, she knows the clients – and given the passion she had for the platform, it make sense for her to want to make the move. So again, not really that curious.

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  1. omg Inara, i know what Sheri did at Sansar, i am talking on position she have in Sansar subsdiary. She is president of Sansar, is not so normal, i never seen another acquisition gone so. And in Wookey technolgies site Chariman and CEO of Sansar is still Gustavson. Yes, is enough curious for me, does not mean that it should be for you too.

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