The pandemic made everyone go online

Cities and countries learn to hold festivities and festivals via the Internet.

Under lock down everyone had to give up their normal lives, and many activities have now completely switched to an online mode. As is known, one of the most important advice for the period of self-isolation is to cancel public events. 

In Russia, the 75th anniversary of the Victory in World War II fell on the period of quarantine. This is the most significant holiday for Russians and it is always celebrated on a large scale: parades in every city and district, various concerts, and the famous Immortal Regiment. This year, however, it all had to be cancelled for the safety of citizens. On May 9, one could see the recorded versions of last year’s parades on TV, and the Immortal Regiment action took place in an online format. 

The Perm Philharmonic Society broadcast concerts celebrating the Victory Day on its website throughout the day, and the Young Spectator’s Theatre broadcast the Merry Soldier performance from its archives. Music and dance companies performed for war veterans right in the yards of their homes keeping social distance. The Governor of the Perm region Dmitry Makhonin said: “On this day our heroes should feel our attention and our gratitude for their contribution to the Victory. That is why music and dance groups will work across the region: they will come to the yards of the veterans’ homes where they will organise small performances, which can be viewed or listened to from windows and balconies. And together with all the neighbours, they will congratulate the war heroes”.

Usually in Oxford May Day is widely celebrated but this year the festivities also took place online; the city handled this task pretty well. Oxford City Council organised a full-scale celebration. Starting from 6am on May 1, there were broadcasts dedicated to May Day: the traditional performance of the choir and the local community band – Horns of Plenty. Throughout the day, citizens posted their memories of May Morning and their own performances with the #MayMorning hashtag on social media, and the City Council published them on its website. “Despite the current coronavirus pandemic, we want to continue the tradition of May Morning celebrations in a safe online environment. May Morning is a unique event here in Oxford that many of us look forward to, and have attended over the years. We want to encourage everyone, old or young, whether this is your 50th May Morning celebration, or your first, to come and join in the fun and celebrate with us online. All we ask is that everyone follows social distancing measures and is safe during the celebrations,” said Councillor Mary Clarkson, a Cabinet Member for Culture and the City Center.

America’s largest annual fireworks show which starts the famous Kentucky Derby festival is traditionally held in Louisville. About 70 events are usually organised in the weeks prior to the first Saturday in May. The festival has now been postponed until August. The organisers admit that they have never considered cancelling the Kentucky Derby, but due to the pandemic situation, it was the only solution: “our first priority has been how to best protect the safety and health of our guests, team members and community”. Such large-scale events could not be held over the Internet even partially, and postponing the date was the most sensible and correct decision, Louisville officials concluded.

Qingdao did not have any major events scheduled for the quarantine period, but under the current circumstances the city’s cultural rhythm continues to beat. For example, the Qingdao Museum launched a virtual exhibition hall back in February where one can view six thematic exhibitions with text and audio support. 

Over time, it has become clear that online holidays are part of our daily life and that we must get used to the present-day realities gradually. The pandemic situation has given a powerful impetus to a new turn in the development of virtual activities.