For people out of town, the festival’s World Wide Web site will be a way to experience the action without being there. For others, it will be a way to coordinate an evening. Reporters with notebook computers will post updates from each club, and 360-degree images capturing the ambiance of each club will be put on line. With computer kiosks at each club, people will be able to find out whether the band they want to see is performing on time or whether the club is crowded.
“In speaking with the club owners, it’s clear that they don’t want to just be involved with the drink business,” said David Pakman of Apple Computer, the festival’s main sponsor. “They want to be involved in advancing forms of entertainment. And I think interactivity is key to that.”
For Mr. Dorf, who just finished putting together the What Is Jazz festival, this year is just the beginning. “The code word for next year is 24-7,” he said. “I want the festival to be in 24 time zones around the world, seven days a week. We’re going to try to find clusters of clubs — or at least a club — in different cities and find a week to synchronize the performances and beam them to other clubs. At 10 A.M. in New York, we’ll have Todd Rundgren perform at Irving Plaza. At that early time, there might not be that many people at the concert, but in Tokyo, where it’s 11 P.M., it will be broadcast on a big screen to a bigger crowd.”
(I had a free pass for this festival thanks to my MTV Networks internship. The badge had a grainy black and white printout of my face on it, and I thought it was SO COOL.)