Craft Lake City’s Virtual DIY Festival: A How-to Q&A with Festival Developers
As is the case with many of Utah’s beloved summer festivals, the events regarding COVID-19 have changed the way Craft Lake City thought about their 12th Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival Presented by Harmons. With an average of over 20,000 annual attendees, a safe and responsible in-person event was firmly out of the question.
But Craft Lake City committed to upholding their mission of consistently uplifting local DIY voices, and boldly pivoted to a brand-new, exciting format. The first ever Virtual DIY Festival will take place Aug. 7–9, and will feature a number of innovative adjustments to the DIY Festival we’ve all come to know and love.
Chief among these developments is the interactive, virtual gallery format. Through the help of a talented team of guest developers, Craft Lake City has constructed a program where festival attendees can “walk” around, interact with artisans and other local makers and support their craft community. Check out SLUG’s Q&A with the Virtual Festival developers that details some of the functionalities of the new format.
SLUG: How will patrons access the virtual festival?
Craft Lake City: Craft Lake City has set up an exclusive website for the virtual version of the event, virtualdiyfestival.com, that will become available during the festival weekend. Of course, we will also provide redirects on craftlakecity.com to guide attendees there, as well as pre-promotion campaigns, social links, etc. From there, patrons will be given two options—to enter the Festival by visiting alphabetical artisan profiles with links to their stores, or by clicking on a link to their virtual gallery. The second option offers a 3D virtual experience where attendees will select an avatar, enter a 3D lobby of the festival area and locate their exhibitors’ gallery alphabetically. Once they have located the gallery, they may also enter and chat verbally with the exhibitor inside. They may shop by clicking on the exhibitors’ store links.
Once inside the festival, there are a number of ways that attendees can interact with artisans and other vendors. To navigate the festival, you may use your computer, phone or an Oculus VR headset. Mouse, arrow keys and WSAD keys provide navigation options.
We will also have an option for attendees to visit the site in advance and sign up to receive emails specifically with updates and developments regarding the Virtual DIY Festival. We have a lot of cool promos coming down the pipeline, like a Harmons VIP Ticket that gets you exclusive access to the Festival an hour earlier than anyone else, a VIP Food box mailed to your house or available for pickup, and plenty more. People who sign up for the email updates will also get notifications about exclusive Virtual DIY Festival stuff first.
Here are the access hours for the Virtual DIY Festival:
Friday, Aug. 7: Harmon’s VIP Ticket:
Early Access: 5–6 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 7: 6–10 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 8: 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
// Kid Row: 1–3 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 9: 3–7 p.m.
SLUG: Can more than one person be in an artisan’s “shop” at one time?
Craft Lake City: Yes, we have set up the preferences to include up to 25 attendees in a gallery at one time. If you are the 26th person, you will be added to a waiting list for when that gallery is available.
SLUG: I’m not very good with computers, and I’m worried that I won’t have an easy time accessing and navigating the virtual festival. What type of live assistance will CLC be providing during the festival weekend?
Craft Lake City: Great question. For those that are uncomfortable using the 3D virtual environment, we will have a typical, profile-like artisan page with social media links, website links, etc. However, we would suggest you make a virtual date with a tech-savvy friend and ask them to screen share with you so you can experience the virtual environment. Once you see it and spend some time playing around with it, you will be hooked!
Find demo videos on the Virtual Festival here.
SLUG: One of my favorite parts of the DIY Festival is the festival food trucks. What form does festival food take in the digital format?
Craft Lake City: Craft Lake City is lucky to have had food trucks, craft-food creators and small commercial food vendors support us for years. Many of them are participating in the virtual festival by offering food truck specials the weekend of the event, secret menu items and extras such as videos explaining their story. Patrons will be notified of where to locate the Craft Lake City food trucks in real life during festival weekend.
SLUG: How can I “invite” my friends and family to the virtual festival?
Craft Lake City: Have them sign up to receive the email notifications for virtualdiyfestival.com. You can also invite them via Craft Lake City’s Facebook event page, as well as text them and send them a personal invite, or even send them a link to this very article!
SLUG: I’ve heard that the virtual festival will be accessible with VR techonology. Can you please expand on this?
Craft Lake City: Correct. We are using an open-source platform called Mozilla Hubs. It is compatible with the Oculus headset. But can be used with a phone, laptop or tablet.
SLUG: I can’t attend the festival the weekend of Aug. 7–9. Will there be any way to access the virtual gallery after?
Craft Lake City: Yes, Craft Lake City will be working with exhibitors, partners and others to offer access during specific and predetermined times in the fall. We are currently in conversations with Utah title-one schools to offer our virtual environment as part of our local educators’ STEM and computer science learning objectives.
Keep an eye on craftlakecity.com for updates and information as well.