Already growing in popularity before the COVID-19 outbreak, virtual events are now poised to become a significant part of American culture. After all distancing is only physical, we are still social creatures by nature and modern technology is coming to the rescue. Whether you want to take a tour, see a concert or watch a Broadway play, there’s something out there that can capture your attention and make you feel a little more exuberant about your options for spring and summer entertainment.
If you’re tired of being boxed in, mentally and physically, here are eight of the top virtual events you might want to investigate:
1. Check out the Electronic Music Scene
Want to get a heads-up on the musical sounds that will (probably) arrive out of Europe next? If you’re an electronic music fan, you don’t want to miss the United We Stream concerts. Some of Europe’s most well-known clubs from Manchester to Berlin are jointly hosting nightly livestream concerts featuring the underground electronic talent that’s on the rise. If you like to be in-the-know about up-and-coming artists, this is the place to visit.
2. Run (or Walk) a Marathon
You don’t even have to brave a crowd to walk (or run) a marathon this year! You can sign up online and participate in either the Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K or the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon remotely. Pick your starting day and time, and then walk or run your distance. Your shirt and medal will be delivered by mail once you submit your official record of participation. (Participation also gets you a discount on a real-life event being held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this year and the 2021 mini-marathon.)
3. Relax with the Symphony or Opera
A wide variety of classical musicians and orchestras are running free live streams and opening up their streaming libraries of their prior performances right now. If you’re an orchestra fan, we’d suggest you take advantage of the free month of access to the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall (use code BERLINPHIL). If you’re in love with the opera, instead, check out nightly live streams being played by The Metropolitan Opera. Either experience could offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
4. Go to a Music Festival
If you really love music, you know that festivals are all about a state of mind, which means there’s no reason they have to be held in-person. Billboard.com is keeping a constantly updated list of all the online festivals that are happening as soon as they’re announced, and the information changes quickly — so make sure that you check in often for new events. Some of the ones that caught our attention were the virtual Cinco de Mayo celebration being hosted on May 2 by Gloria and Emilio Estefan (among others) and The New York Guitar Festival that’s going to stream live from May 4 through May 15.
5. Take in a Broadway Play or Musical
If you’ve always wanted to experience the magic and mystery of Broadway without leaving your living room, now is your chance. Through its YouTube channel, Broadway has been streaming videos of some of its most epic productions for free every weekend. Past events have allowed viewers to see such notable plays as Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies. (Remember: If you subscribe to the channel, you won’t miss a thing!)
6. Learn to Bake Like a Pro
If you find yourself with lots of extra time on your hands, you may (like a lot of other people) try your hand at baking. It’s a lot harder than it looks, however, and every new baker can use a little professional guidance. Fortunately, you can get that kind of help these days in the comfort of your own kitchen. Take a class right through Instagram with the renowned experts at London’s Bread Ahead Bakery. There’s a full schedule of events lined up here.
7. Visit a Piano Bar and Sing
If you’re really missing the nightlife, one of New York City’s most well-known piano bars is hosting a song-fest from 4-7 p.m. and from 7-9:30 p.m daily. You can take in some tunes and sing along with the folks at Marie’s Crisis Bar via their Facebook group to experience that sense of camaraderie that rises among jovial bar patrons everywhere. Just grab a drink and your favorite digital device and join in.
Do You Need More Information About Current Virtual Events?
Many virtual events are cropping up with little advance notice as artists, agencies and promoters scramble to keep pace with the demands of the age. If you need last-minute information about the virtual events that are available, check out the revolving list maintained by NPR for daily updates or check with your local entertainment venues for more.