Artistries in lockdown: I curated my own three-day online festival. Now it’s over, and I am wrecked

From Fleabag to a nightclub, from a biennale to the ballet, Brigid Delaneys personal IsoFest took her all around the world on her laptop but it wasnt the same

Does a lockdown without mass meetings necessitate a lockdown without culture? Not necessarily.

With my inbox crowding up with press releases from artistries organisations, musicians and novelists attempting to reach their audiences online, I realise we are now in a golden age of online prowess that- until beings used to work how to properly monetise it- is principally free or low-cost. I could move my own carnival from the comfort of my own home.

Curating my own three-day, multi-arts, multi-platform festival- to enjoy by myself- wasn’t the same as attending a real one. But it was … an experience.

Friday 17 April

5pm: a literary salon
How do columnists road test brand-new cloth in isolation? I met a Zoom group of around 20 Byron Bay-based writers for an old-fashioned literary salon. A melt start to my celebration, Byron on the Bed is a nice practice to kick back with a glass of wine-colored and listen. My favourite is a writer who doesn’t speak her own employment, but has recorded snippets of exchanges she’s overheard. The arise is funny, but weirdly poignant: a reminder of a time when we could get close enough to other people to eavesdrop on them.

For more: Bookmark the following websites to find out about upcoming online books happenings: the Wheeler Centre, Sydney novelists’ festival, Melbourne writers’ celebration, Yarra Valley writers’ celebration and brand-new series Together Remotely.

7:30 pm: tavern trivia
The Red Hill Hotel
is an excellent pub in a village simply up the road from my house in Victoria, who are hosting Zoom trivia once a week. On my unit is me and my brother( in one home ), my friend( at another, via FaceTime ), and his friend( at a third, texting his reply in ). We then Zoom in to where the quizmaster is, and meet more than 60 other faces: our competition.

It’s “the worlds largest” hectic trivia night I’ve ever attended. Our team’s communications system is like a centipede of flunking tech. The Zoom sections out after 40 minutes. When we log back in again, we’ve lost a teammate. The questions are too hard and we don’t know how to defer our answers. We don’t even have a team name. We never get to find out how we did because the Zoom pieces out again.

For more: Check the Facebook pages of your favourite local venues to see if they’ve moved any case online.

9:00 pm: an orchestra

Agitated by the trivia, hungry, and distracted by how close the Australian Chamber Orchestra musicians are to each other( this was filmed in 2018 ), I’m probably not in the claim district to loosen into the opening movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Music academics have described it as the” most famous symphonic trajectory of expressive minor-key darkness to coruscating major-key light”, but where’s my pizza?

When it ultimately arrives, it doesn’t feel right eating junk food while listening to the ACO- which in real life I would sit rigidly still for the duration of, muffling every rub and cough. I am a bit drunk, texting and eating pepperoni pizza- but this immense work by Beethoven remains undimmed.

For more: Check outthe Australian Chamber Orchestra’s digital program here.

9:45 pm: a nightclub
Woo hoo! I’m logging into the club. Yeah! I’m logging in. What to wear to my first virtual nightclub? I believed to be briefly then exactly decide to go in the activewear I’ve been wearing for six weeks.

There are more than 300 people at Mr McClelland’s Finishing School , a Zoom party iteration of the Melbourne indie-pop night. The faces in the squares prompt me of Chatroulette: you never know what will appear on screen. In this case it’s either people sitting too close to their cameras or beings in sequins and hotpants dancing around a fairy-lighted room. Like at a ordinary organization, I’m texting friends who I arranged to meet here but can’t find:” I’m here, in the fraternity, where you ?”

As well as dancing( Primal Scream, Paul Simon, Robyn, Carly Rae Jepson ), you can message the DJ( Andrew McClelland) or shout out to other club members. I’ve set up Zoom with a speaker to bomb the music, and end up dancing and drinking until almost 1am. It’s so enjoyable , no one’s sleazing on anyone and I don’t have to worry about get an Uber home.

For more: Mr McClelland’s Finishing School are hosting parties every fortnight; find out more here.

Saturday 18 April

10 am: a visual arts biennale
I won’t lie. I committed a rookie lapse last-place nighttime: went too hard-handed on the first night of a celebration and now have two packed dates onward and cannot deal. At least I can attend this morning’s planned from my bed.

The Biennale of Sydney move away some of its program online; I head over to Cockatoo Island and then to the Art Gallery of New South Wales for a tour of Karla Dickens’ occupation. Please told the lockdown be over soon, so I can see this amazing work in real life. Visual art on a screen is just not the same.

For more : Find the digital platform of the 2020 Biennale of Sydney- Nirin- on its website and its YouTube channel.

12:30 pm: an exhibition
You’ll need a couple of hours to get the most from Crossing Lines. The incredible audiovisual knowledge of the National Gallery of Victoria ‘ s major Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat demo combines a virtual gallery 360 -degree walkthrough, a social record of New York in the 1970 s and 80 s, and lively audio tours.

At ages I get confused where I am in the cavity- and at other epoches I move the cursor too quickly and speed down hallways of prowes so quickly I feel sick. But for the most part I genuinely experience appreciating an exhibition this direction. For a beginning, it seems like a lot of imagined( and money) has gone into it; the NGV’s online offering is very slick and comprehensive. It wouldn’t surprise me if they keep this up in some model or other after the lockdown aims; it’s a great channel of accessing the gallery if “were living” far away.

For more : take the virtual tour of Crossing Lines at the NGV, and check out the rest of the NGV’s channel here.

1pm- 10 pm: a music carnival

‘ My favourite new thing from this somber era ‘: Brigid Delaney’s view of Isolaid festival on 18 April 2020. Composite: Brigid Delaney/ Isolaid festival

This is the fifth iteration of Isolaid on Instagram, which has been my favourite brand-new thing from this stark meter. Each weekend the Australian musical celebration lineuphas not only reconnected me with my favourite creators( and their houses ), but initiated me to a stack of new music. Today I watch about two hours’ value of music, with spotlights including 20 -minute starts by The Bamboos, Christian Lee Hutson and Jet Black Cat.

While there was a lot of chat this past weekend about the big concerts by John Legend and Lady Gaga , in isolation I opt the most intimate accomplishments of lesser-known acts.

For more: Stay tuned to Isolaid festival on Instagram to be informed about next weekend’s lineup.

7:30 pm: a live podcast recording
Watching Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales record a live episode of Chat 10 Looks 3 feels like catching up with old friends. As I make a batch of pumpkin soup( something I’ve never done at a carnival ), they speak iso roasting, journals and Bach via their Facebook page.

For more : Follow Chat 10 Looks 3 on Facebook .

Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales’ Facebook live broadcast of Chat 10 Looks 3. Photograph: Facebook

8: 30 pm: a ballet
Directed by David McAllister, the Australian Ballet ‘ s 2016 production processes Cinderella is beautifully hit and played- but it’s interrupted by the phone call from a friend who is recovering from Covid-1 9. After he absconded a crumbling villa in Italy just before the country locked its doorways, he went to Berlin, London, Dubai and Brisbane before succumbing to this” inferno malady “.

” Never take your health for granted ,” he tells me. I am still a bit hungover from the first night. I fall asleep and miss the end of the ballet.

For more: The Australian Ballet’s digital season is available here.

Sunday 19 April

7am: a meditation
Get up at 6:30 am. Very early for a carnival. This event is a Sonic Zoom Meditation . I don’t know what to expect. A gong seem soap? A choir? A musing? All three?

The event is US based and it’s 5pm there- but it’s actually well-suited to a crisp autumn sunup here. There are 357 beings in the Zoom group and at 7am my day the legion unmutes all our microphones and we make a voice. My sound sounds like I’ve just eaten off chicken and am about to be sick:” Arrgghhh, argghhh .” But together we all clang quite lovely.

For more : World Wide Tuning Meditations are happening every weekend.

8am: a Broadway piano bar
Now shuttered because of coronavirus, staff members of the famous New York piano bar Marie’s Crisis are continuing to perform showtunes from their dwellings- and you can tip them via Venmo.” This is how I buy toilet tissue and groceries ,” said Franca Vercelloni from her forte-piano as she launched under Hello Dolly.

Again, there was a sharp thrust of nostalgia as I remembered how it used to be: late at night, beings pressed around the piano, singing along, throwing mentions in the flask. I imagine though, for the community of people who went to the bar every week, singing via the internet is better than has no such singing at all.

For more : Marie’s Crisis are streaming performances every day on their Facebook page.

11.30 am: a musical

‘ I devour leftover pumpkin soup for breakfast. Riveted by this musical .’ Photograph: Brigid Delaney
I’ve never seen Phantom of the Opera – and this creation, filmed at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011, is so slick. So professional. So much . The large-scale spokespeople. Opera capes. Night-robes. Heaving breasts. Epic hymns. But I get distracted- and sad- when the cameras pan across the theatre to show the audience. They are all out. Garmented up. In a theatre. Sitting close together. It feels subversive.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is currently liberate musicals on YouTube for a limited 48 hours each week, on a free or subscription basis. He’s so far gone through the 2012 stadium production of Jesus Christ Superstar( starring Tim Minchin) and the 1999 cinema of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat( starring Donny Osmond ). By the time I start streaming Phantom, it has previously considered 7.5 m times.

I eat leftover pumpkin soup for breakfast. Riveted by this musical. The Phantom is my favourite character- what a expres. I get chills where reference is shatters into the final rendition of All I Ask of You. You not that ugly, Phantom. I would marry you.

For more : Stay chanted to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s the Shows Must Go On YouTube channel to find out about the next show.

5:30 pm: a play
For a merely four quid( which goes to the NHS ), Soho Theatre in London is offering a 48 -hour rental of Phoebe Waller-Bridge ‘ s stage show Fleabag , which morphed into the hit TV series .

We set up the laptop, light-colored the fire and crack up laughing for almost two hours. I wish for a firepit and a movie projector, but like electric motorcycles and puppies there’s probably been a run on them.

Waller-Bridge is, of course, a brilliant writer. But this participate testifies just what a brilliant physical actor she is. That face!

For more: Head to the Soho theatre website to watch Fleabag on demand.


It’s Monday after my three-day IsoFest, and just like after any celebration, I am wrecked. My brain is mush from construing so much art, music, theater and dance. I desired sharing everything from a dance, to a read, to pub trivia with strangers. But … but … it’s not the same.

You make remembers at celebrations. You assemble people who become friends or love. There is serendipity and surprise- all this, plus the art. I suffered some of the best art and culture the world has to offer- but without the celebration audiences and a posse of friends it’s like the proverbial tree falling in the forest.

Did the celebration actually happen if there was no one else to share it with?

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