Sadhu Sanga, the biggest kirtan retreat in North America, is set to make another breakthrough. This year’s entire event, running from May 25thto 28th, will be live-streamed in multiple formats, including 4k 360-degree Virtual Reality.
This means that viewers who own an Oculus Rift headset will be able to put it on and have a completely immersive live experience of the Sadhu Sanga kirtans.
“They’ll be able to sit down and look around at the audience behind them, and the stage in front of them, as if they were actually there,” says Giri-Vallabha Klausner. “If you don’t have an Oculus, don’t worry – you can still go online and pan around 360 degrees to see the whole scene.”
Giri-Vallabha is part of a second-generation film crew, along with Uddhava Marcotte and Narottama Rewah, who run a media company called Veuwr Inc out of Alachua, Florida. Earning their stripes filming kirtan festivals, they’ve covered nearly every event on the East Coast of the U.S. in the past three years, including Kirtan Fest Atlanta, Chant 4 Change in D.C., Festival of the Holy Name in Alachua, Kirtan 50 in Dallas, and the new Baltimore temple grand opening.
While most ISKCON events were previously filmed and live-streamed using camcorders, the Veuwr team have gone out of their way to use professional cameras, ensuring much better quality streams.
This year they’ll broadcast the Sadhu Sanga Retreat live at https://veuwr.com/sadhu-sanga-2018-live/, offering three options. There’ll be the immersive 360 degree Virtual Reality stream. There will be an audio-only stream. And there will be the main stream. For this, the team will film the Sadhu Sanga Retreat with five cameras, switching between them to get the best angles and close-ups to give viewers the full experience of the festival.
The film crew finding the best angles and shots to give an ideal livestream experience
The over 500 viewers the team hope to get online will be in addition to the more than 2,000 devotees expected to attend Sadhu Sanga this year at the Art of Living Retreat Center in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone, North Carolina.
The astonishing list of kirtaniyas set to lead the chanting include Bada Haridas, B.B. Govinda Swami, Indradyumna Swami, Jahnavi Jivana Dasi, Madhava Das, Mukunda Datta Das, Nadiya Mani Dasi, Niranjana Swami, Sri Prahlad Das, and Sacinandana Swami, who will serve as the MC.
Radhanath Swami, Sitala Dasi, and Vaisesika Das will both lead kirtans and give Srimad-Bhagavatam classes.
Attendees will also get the chance to associate with a further 65 disciples of Srila Prabhupada.
Sacinandana Swami chants
Along with all the kirtan and classes, there will be full morning programs, delicious prasadam, and of course lots of sanga and service.
If you can’t make it to the festival, the film crew request you to please immediately RSVP with your email address at https://veuwr.com/sadhu-sanga-2018-live/to ensure the best live viewing experience.
The livestream will also be available to watch after the festival at Veuwr’s Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxoIZXKN_o7IqMy3Q6thBHg
“I like knowing that we’re bringing the festival to hundreds of people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to be there,” says Giri. “It’s bringing an experience from one camera to the eyes of hundreds.”
BB Govinda Swami leads kirtan onstage
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For more information about the Sadhu Sanga Retreat and a full schedule, visit http://www.sadhusangaretreat.com/[ kirtan ] [ sadhu-sanga-retreat ]