Novacane

Novacane, an alternative rock band based in Eugene, is one of the groups performing in the Virtual Valley Music Festival. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

The creator of Eugene’s Covchella has returned with yet another virtual music festival charity event. The Virtual Valley Music Festival will feature 23 artists from Eugene and beyond, all in one 12-hour live stream.

The one-day festival will take place entirely on Twitch and will last from 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 27 to 12:30 a.m. Much like the first event, Covchella, the festival will donate all of its proceeds to charity, but this time it will be a 50/50 split between Black Lives Matter and the Oregon Food Bank.  

“These two organizations play a pivotal role in bringing both awareness and resources to two big issues that plague our state and community,” said Oliver Lester, bassist of Novacane, one of the bands that will perform in the festival.

Lane County has been in Phase 2 of reopening for 22 days, but the regulations still do not allow for large gatherings, therefore eliminating the possibility of traditional live concerts. This has launched an entirely new form of concerts and festivals — virtual live streams. From major music labels and huge celebrity concerts to local bands joining together, the world of virtual music has grown immensely following global coronavirus shutdowns. 

Richard Lathrop, a Eugene native who performs as Ghostnaps, has been the mastermind behind planning every aspect of both Covchella and the Virtual Valley Festival, and will also be performing a set during the festival. After raising $1,401 for Food for Lane County during Covchella, Lathrop has raised the bar for their donation goal to $3,000. 

“You just don’t know how many people will come and how much you’ll raise, but we have a platform here to do something,” Lathrop said. “I wanted to expand it regionally and create even more change.” 

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The artists involved are from a wide variety of genres including hip hop, R&B, pop, rock and electronic. Some of the acts include popular Eugene artists such as alternative rock bands Novacane and Laundry and the pop band The Graduating Class. 

“The symbiotic relationship between the artist and the performers is something that truly can’t be replaced,” Lester said. “Although given the severity of the pandemic we have grown more comfortable to live streaming.”

Prior to state mandated lockdowns quite a few of the artists had released new music and were scheduled to perform it live across the Pacific Northwest, but had to cancel or reschedule their shows. A few of those artists will be showcasing new music for the first time ever at the Virtual Valley Festival. 

“It’s a way for all of us to show to an audience what we have been working on, but also for a really good cause,” said Lathrop. 

Artists performed and recorded each act in separate locations in accordance with social distancing rules, but Lathrop is bringing them together virtually to be one cohesive live stream and coordinating the sound and visuals to ensure that the event runs smoothly for all 12 hours.

Readers can learn more about the live stream and donation page on the Virtual Valley Festival website, Instagram and Facebook

Arts and Culture Reporter

Grace Murray is an arts and culture reporter. She loves music, comedy television, photography and Disneyland. Send her an email if you have a local event, art show, performance, or exhibit!