May Day is a real cause for celebration in Finland, but since the country is practicing social distancing in hopes of slowing the spread of coronavirus, many in-person celebrations had to be put on hold.
In an attempt to unite Finland’s population, however, the country carried out a remote May Day celebration. Thanks to help from popular rap stars, JVG, and Helsinki-based virtual reality studio, Zoan, residents were able to celebrate May Day by watching the virtual concert shown above.
According to a press release, the musical event was inspired by “the success of gigs in gaming platform Fortnite.” Viewers, or virtual attendees, were even able to choose their own avatars and interact with the rappers using “gestures, applause, and emojis.”
As Business Insider reported, “700,000 viewers tuned into the virtual concert,” and 150,000 of those viewers even created their own avatars.
In a statement, Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki, noted that “May Day is one of the largest public holidays of the calendar year, normally bringing together many of Helsinki’s 650,000 residents to celebrate.” Though this year’s celebration was significantly different, it still managed to bring the community together.
“The world will be a very different place post-COVID-19 and cities needs to be innovative when it comes to creating new ways to provide experiences” Vapaavuori said. “Helsinki wants to be the city that pioneers this digital innovation to create solutions. Virtual Helsinki demonstrates the opportunities for this kind of technology to change how we experience cities and destinations in the future.”
The plan is to use Helsinki’s “digital twin” to host a variety of other virtual events in the future. Eventually, Vapaavuori wants the technology to “serve as a digital platform that will enable service providers to run their businesses.”
Tune in to see the unique celebration for yourself and to witness some truly incredible graphics — including giant dancing bears.