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Metropolis hosts the world’s first 5G festival

Last week we had the pleasure of being one of three venues to host the world’s first 5G Festival.

Over the last two years, nine heavyweight organisations have been working collectively on an initiative dubbed 5G Festival exploring the untapped potential of 5G for the music industry as part of a wider £200m DCMS 5G Testbeds & Trials Programme. Providing a blueprint for how technology can play a key role in the future of the sector, consortium partners include Metropolis Studios, Mativision, Digital Catapult, Sonosphere, Audiotonix, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, LiveFrom, Virgin Media O2 and Warner Music Group.

The award-winning 5G Festival culminated last week with a ground-breaking live experience which took place across the three consortium partner venues: Metropolis Studios, the O2 Blueroom at The O2 and Brighton Dome.


Last week’s final showcase featured demonstrations of the technical milestones achieved during the course of the project – in particular solving the issue of latency (delay) between artists collaborating remotely from different locations. The live show, curated by Music Director Kojo Samuel, featured 22 musicians spread 100 miles apart from eachother across the three venues, performing seamlessly together in a completely first of its kind concert.

The core band for the show consisted of backing vocals, drums, keyboard with guest appearances from singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner and Alt Folk band Memorial at Brighton Dome who also hosted an in-person audience. The O2 Blueroom in London hosted the string section and rising star guest appearances from BRIT Award nominee, Lola Young, and Natalie Lindi, part of the MOBO Unsung Class of 2021. Metropolis hosted Owen Williams on percussion, Dishan Abrahamas on bass, Sipprell on vocals and London-based rock duo Pearl Harts which was live-streamed to the other venues as part of the hybrid festival experience.

(c) Jamie MacMillan

5G Festival is a unique R&D trial that enables the power of 5G and other technologies to communicate the “live-ness” of an experience wherever musicians or audiences are located. Since early 2020, the partners behind 5G Festival have experimented with understanding how collaborations and performances across multiple venues in different geographical locations can transform the work of artists and producers around the world, combined with innovative and memorable live experience for audiences in-venue and at home.

The project itself focused on three Use Cases. The first solved how artists can work, collaborate and rehearse remotely with ultra low audio/visual latency. The second case looks at how to distribute immersive content from physically separated artists and bands to audiences at home using latest cutting edge audio and video technologies. The third addresses a hybrid of the first two to deliver in venue experiences.

We will be publishing our finding in due course but the showcase itself, provided the clearest demonstration yet and a glimpse into the meta-future of the impact advanced digital technologies will have on the music and live arts sector. Bringing together 5G as part of a range of connectivity solutions for this type of event has also highlighted other environmentally positive workflows as well as a series of different commercial products and services which the consortium parters will continue to explore and develop as a legacy of the project.


Gavin Newman, Brand Director at Metropolis Studios, said: “After a rewarding 18 months of pioneering R&D and practical trials, we are delighted to finally share our findings with our wider tech and music communities. In particular for Metropolis Studios, the delivery of seamless low latency audio/visual workflow enabling artists to work together remotely over a 5G network, as well as the ability to broadcast live performances in any immersive audio format, are two huge cultural and commercial step-changes for the industry which we intend to develop further as a legacy of this project.” 



Read more about the build-up to the launch here