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Our tips for making your home viewed live-stream concert experience enjoyable!

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge effect on the live music industry, and one of the biggest changes resulting from the ‘new normal’ is the prevalence of live-streamed concerts.  In many ways, these are great: they allow the viewer to experience a live musical event from the comfort (and safety) of their home, and are the next best thing to being at a concert in person.  However, like any new viewing or listening medium, there is a learning curve for both the producers and the audiences.  This page features three tips for making your at home live-streamed concert as enjoyable as possible, as an audience member.

1. Optimize your viewing and listening setup

Have you ever been to a concert where you sat at the back of the hall, with a particularly tall person in front of you obstructing your view of the stage, and the person next to you rummaging loudly in their bag for some elusive object, for minutes on end? It’s not fun! Watching a live-streamed concert with an inadequate viewing and listening setup can be similarly distracting, and won’t be engaging.  If you have a laptop, we’d recommend attaching your device to your television screen - this can be easily done through an HDMI cable like this and an HDMI display port adapter for your laptop like this.  The advantage of this setup is that your computer will also send the sound to your TV’s speaker system, which will be of higher quality than your internal computer speakers (that part is really important!).  If you don’t have a TV or can’t connect your computer to yours, then we’d recommend at least connecting your computer to a good set of external speakers.  Having high-quality audio makes a huge difference to your listening experience, and a simple set of external speakers can go a long way in this regard.  A set like this would do a great job.  Finally, make sure your seating arrangement is comfortable, and will allow you to concentrate on the show.  A few foldable chairs crowded around a desk are not going to be as nice as setting your computer up on a coffee table in front of a comfortable couch (or, bringing the couch to the computer, if it’s not a laptop!).

2. Sort out the technology side of things well before the concert starts

To go back to the live concert comparison - have you ever been late for a concert, stuck in a traffic jam or on a bus, watching the minutes tick by, knowing that your favourite piece of music that you have never heard played live before has already started? It’s stressful, and not fun! Take some time earlier in the day before the live-stream concert starts to get the technology and seating side of things setup, so that when show time comes, all you have to do is take your seat and enjoy the performance.  Crucially, make sure you know where your online concert is happening, and have the webpage open in advance.  You don’t want to be scrambling to find it at the last minute.  If you’re watching a Pontiac Enchanté concert, it’s easy - just go to our Virtual Concert Hall, and our current live-stream concert will be waiting for you in the viewer in the middle of the page.  We’d advise you click the refresh button at the top of the page a few minutes before the concert starts, just to make sure that the link is as up to date as possible.  

3. Make an occasion out of it!  

Going to a concert is a great experience because of the music, but also because it’s a great experience! It’s fun to go out to a beautiful place, have dinner at a restaurant beforehand, and maybe a drink afterwards where you can re-live the great moments of the show you just saw with good friends.  Part of what makes live-stream concerts a challenge as an audience member is that you lose those aspects of the concert-going experience.  So, you need to create that experience for yourself.  Make an occasion out of the evening: cook a great meal before the concert, and then enjoy it while watching the show.  Or, order takeout from your favourite restaurant.  Open a special bottle of wine, or have a few of your favourite beers.  These things can all bring a sense of occasion to the evening, and in combination with the two points above, can make a live-streamed concert viewed at home as meaningful an experience as going out to one in person.  

Carson and Tait Becke, co-directors