Pussy Riot, Idles to play Minecraft virtual festival ‘Block by Blockwest’

Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns

Punk acts like Pussy Riot and Idles will be logging into Minecraft on Saturday to play sets for the Block by Blockwest online music festival to raise money for novel coronavirus relief efforts.

The event is being organized by a group called the Courier Club, and it starts at 3PM ET. Around two dozen bands will play shows at the festival including Pussy Riot, Idles, Citizen, Nothing, Nowhere, Sir Sly, Cherry Glazerr, and Wicca Phase Springs Eternal. All proceeds will go to the CDC Foundation, a nonprofit created by Congress to raise money for coronavirus relief.

“Due to the mass cancellation of tours, ‘Block By Blockwest: A Minecraft Music Festival’ aims to provide an online festival experience for the artists that were forced to cancel their tours and fans who missed out on the chance to hear their favorite artists live,” the BXBW festival site reads.

Each band’s 20-minute set will be a prerecorded live session played through the server. Other activities like art galleries and minigames will also be available in-game for festivalgoers. Merch stores for artists will be hosted on the servers and a BXBW T-shirt will be available for purchase with proceeds going toward the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization.

The Courier Club has posted a YouTube tutorial for festivalgoers that lays out how to connect to the BXBW Minecraft server.

Concerts have been held in games for years, with acts like Marshmello playing shows in Fortnite and drawing close to 11 million viewers. The novel coronavirus pandemic has upended countless parts of daily life, including tours and music festivals. These digital concerts have only grown in popularity over the last few weeks. Bands like American Football and Soccer Mommy are playing shows for fans in Minecraft and Club Penguin. Travis Scott is touring all throughout Fortnite this week, too.