2020 marked a first for the Raindance Film Festival, with the event never previously having taken place online. Allowing interested parties to experience the festival remotely, as reported by ScreenDaily.com, it was well-received, leading to the question of whether this could soon become the norm.

Certainly, many previous events have trialled such a format, to generally positive reviews. Following on the heels of technologically innovative industries like online gambling, they’ve sought to bottle the atmosphere of being there in-person and share it with those viewing online.

Could this be a viable long-term alternative, not necessarily replacing in-person festivals, but rather functioning alongside and offering another way to experience the excitement? UKFilmReview.co.uk thinks so, and our honest opinion would also be ‘yes’.

Can you bottle the electric atmosphere of a festival and share it online?

It’s fair to say that there has long been the technology in place to stream events online. Other industries have utilised this for at least the last five years, from motorsports to competitive video gaming, but the majority of film festivals have failed to embrace the possibility.

The worry so often cited is that sharing such events over the internet might take something away from them, failing to convey their incredible atmosphere and making it less appealing for film aficionados to visit in person, meaning they miss out on networking opportunities and the chance to meet like-minded individuals.

But are these fears founded? The answer most likely comes down to personal opinion, but certainly, the overwhelming success of the 2020 Raindance Film Festival suggests that the two could easily exist in harmony alongside one another.

The many upsides of an online experience

While it’s fair to say that an online event cannot replicate the chance to connect with like-minded people, there is much it can offer its audience. First and foremost, the internet experience is arguably more convenient.

Requiring that its virtual attendees do no more than log onto their laptop or smartphone in order to stream the event, this year’s online festival saved a lot of people from travelling long distances to be there in person. This almost certainly had a beneficial impact on attendance, with many who don’t live locally having found it easier to be at the festival.

In addition, the lack of travelling helped to bring down the cost of attending for many, saving on petrol, train and plane tickets. It also proved more economical for the festival’s hosts, who did not have to hire a venue or cover any large overheads.

Indeed, this is a model we’ve seen utilised by many other industries, with online gambling providing a prime example. Sites like bonusfinder.com are testament to this trend, sharing a wealth of promotions that indicate how much more economical internet alternatives tend to be. Interestingly, this lowering of costs has actually helped them to attract a larger audience overall, by making the pastime more accessible than its physical counterpart.

If we want to welcome new faces into the film festival scene, it may therefore not only be viable to continue hosting online events, but perhaps also necessary, and to our mind, anything that encourages a fresh wave of interest can and should be pursued.

Tell us, what’s your view on the subject?