Oxford born singer-songwriter and YouTube sensation, Ben Walker, is truly a modern day bard. His careful exploitation of web based communication tools and social networking sites have gained his quirky and satirical songs a worldwide following.
Since 250,000 viewers tuned in to YouTube to watch his song "You're No One If You're Not On Twitter", it has become the unofficial anthem of Twitter worldwide.
Now Ben is using the internet to create a new gig concept.
Ben's Big Gig will be a concert with a difference at the North Wall Arts Centre in Summertown, Oxford on 1st May, 2009.
Not only will the gig be streamed live over the internet for his global fan base to enjoy, but screens within the venue will display real-time messages, photos and videos from fans around the world who want to join in. Ben's Big Gig promises to be a truly interactive experience that is already a hot topic on Twitter!
Musician and social media expert Steve Lawson describes Ben as "a very clever man. He writes wonderful catchy songs, and then comes up with funny, engaging and interesting ways of letting people know about them. Once you've found him via one of his myriad internet presences, it's all about the songs. Fortunately, they're fantastic. I'm a big fan."
Ben's satirical songs explore the characters that are close to his heart: the North Oxford greenie, the lovelorn geek, the frustrated trendoid, and even celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall. The gig will feature Ben on the piano and guitar, backed by bass and drums and joined by many special guests - not forgetting collaborators and audiences from around the web and across the globe.
Ben comments, "Cabaret 2.0 is the working title I'm using for the gig. Not only is it going to involve lots of live connections to and from the internet with video, Twitter messages and photos, but the most interesting part is that they have 'crowdsourced' all the planning and promotion (even this press release!). My fans are a smart bunch of people, and I'm asking each of them to help with the promotion in their own way."
Ben has already got his online fan base involved in helping him to promote his Big Gig. Within 24 hours of issuing a request on Twitter, fans from America, Canada and France had used a publicly editable wiki page to help write his publicity copy for the event. In the same way that he's conducted live video song writing sessions on the internet in the past, Ben will also be documenting his progress and the results of his Big Gig to help other musicians.
Ben comments, "It's the creative and collaborative attitude of social media users that has propelled my songs across the world. I'm using the same medium to give something back. I've already streamed live song writing sessions to inspire budding songwriters and I'm documenting my Big Gig experience to help other musicians who are looking to do something similar."
Of course, Ben's Big Gig, is not just a virtual concert. For those attending the gig at the North Wall Arts Centre on the 1st May, it promises to be a very entertaining and interactive experience.
Tickets for Ben's Big Gig are on sale at £5 for students or £10 for adults. They can be purchased by phone from the North Wall box office on 01865 319450 or online:
The gig will also be streamed live on the internet at the same address.
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