Thailand live music festival goes online on Zoom amid coronavirus outbreak

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Rock fans in Thailand watched their favorite bands play via video-meeting platform Zoom on Sunday as a live music festival went online.

Public gatherings have been banned in Thailand since mid-March to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but Sunday’s six-hour-long show gave people a chance to see and interact with artists from afar.

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“My favorite band hasn’t had a live performance during the lockdown, so being able to see them today will make me happy,” said 21-year old Siriyagorn Aimchomchid as she waited for their set to start.

Some music fans gathered in small groups -- permitted under the coronavirus restrictions -- to watch the event, for which about 3,000 tickets were sold at 499 baht ($15.84) apiece.

“A virtual music festival allows audiences and artists to interact, and they can sing along and talk to each other,” said Samkwan Tonsompong, managing director of festival organiser What The Duck Music. “I think this is closer than being at an actual concert.”

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But Sirinapa Darathum, a 15-year-old student who was watching with three friends, said the online format did not compare to the excitement of a live gig.

“Although I’m watching artists close up on the screen, I am still far apart from them because we are in different locations,” she said.

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