Rochester musician livestreams concert into virtual reality headsets

Jul 10, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — Live streamed concerts are common in times of coronavirus, but Rochester resident and Wareham native Grace Morrison took the concept to a new level on July 10 with a virtual reality concert that concert goers could stream straight into headsets that were shipped straight to their door.

She performed in front of a 360 degree camera along with singer-songwriter Marc Douglas Berardo and a small gathering of socially distanced and mask wearing friends and family.

“It’s definitely a different kind of livestream,” said Morrison. 

During the months of the shutdown, she performed in front of a camera on her porch or on her couch inside her home. 

She said it was hard to feel the energy of people watching so she was “excited to have another person to perform with.”

She went on a southwest tour with Berardo, along with Grace’s husband Scott and their one-year-old child, that ended in February. After a bit of downtime, Morrison was supposed to be back on the road again, but it never happened due to coronavirus restrictions. 

“None of us have done any shows since then” in person, said Berardo, who is from Rhode Island. 

During the show, the two were able to bounce jokes off each other and sing harmonies as if they were back out on tour together.

The idea for the show was birthed from touring, too.

After a show with New York promoter River Spirit Music was cancelled because of the virus, the company worked out a show with Morrison and Berardo to do a virtual reality concert.

The promoter sent a “studio in a box” which carried all the necessary equipment to host the event.

When concertgoers purchased a ticket for the livestream, a virtual reality headset was express shipped to their door so they could watch through the headset and feel like they were in the room.

The venue was at Cedar Rock Farms and hosted by Morrison’s talent manager, Veronica Brockwell.

The owner of V Talent Management used her house as the concert venue.

With the right precautions in place she “thought it was possible to have a socially distanced concert.” 

The show was originally planned to be outside, but the changing weather pushed the concert into her home. Thankfully, the acoustics in her living room were just right for the show. 

Masks were given to every guest who didn’t already have one, and she made sure the guest list was under the state’s limit for gatherings.

As Morrison and Berardo played songs and shot the breeze about the stories behind them, it was the closest thing that one could have to a real concert, whether it was being there in the living room, or watching it through a headset.