The trippiest event of the summer is coming to Prospect Park: A free VR concert in space

The trippiest event of the summer is coming to Prospect Park: A free VR concert in space
This is an actual picture taken by the Hubble telescope. Via NASA.

We’ve all searched for a few “trippy” experiences in our lifetimes, and they all usually seem to involve space and lasers. Maybe you’ve smoked a blunt in the parking garage of the Boston Museum of Science before seeing the Pink Floyd laser light show AND the Aqua Teen movie (as I’ve heard some people have done), maybe you go to the planetarium at the Natural History Museum when you want to remember just how little your life matters to the whole universe, maybe you just lie down in an empty field any time you leave the eastern seaboard and remember, oh shit, stars!

But planetariums and laser shows are high school crap: You’re an adult now in the year 2016 and you can get your trippy experiences in a virtual reality setting, in a beautiful park accompanied by a live orchestra as you gaze into the deepest secrets of the universe discovered by the Hubble telescope.

On Aug. 6, the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival is premiering the free Hubble Cantata at the Prospect Park bandshell, featuring a 20-piece ensemble, a 100-person choir, two Metropolitan Opera stars and a virtual reality experience complete with 360-degree sound that takes you up close and personal with the cosmos as seen through the Hubble telescope. And you get a free cardboard virtual reality headset you get to keep after the show. Trippy!

The Prospect Park show is free and will kick off a tour of the Hubble Cantata show — organizers have launched a Kickstarter to help cover the costs of the shows, but a spokesman confirmed to us that the Prospect Park show will happen regardless of whether all the funds are raised.

Here’s how it works: In the week before the event, organizers will release a free app you can download (it’s not yet clear where you can find it but stay tuned here). On Aug. 6, the 6,000 attendees of the bandshell will all be handed a cardboard VR reader (like this) that attaches to your smartphone.


That's one big ass telescope. Via NASA.
That’s one big ass telescope. Via NASA.

The whole performance isn’t VR, but towards the end, you’ll be prompted to press play and put the headsets on to “journey into the cosmos.” You won’t need headphones either as the venue will be equipped with a 360-soundscape coming out of the speakers that “completely surrounds the audience,” according to the Kickstarter video.

It’s produced by National Sawdust/VisionIntoArt with an original score by composer Paola Prestini, and promises to use virtual reality in ways you’ve never seen before (especially if you haven’t had the chance to mess around with all this new VR tech yet). Just take a look at these non-VR pics the Hubble telescope has taken and imagine what it would like to have that surrounding you.

“The Hubble telescope sees stars being born, it sees stars die, it sees galaxies that are trillions of miles away,” filmmaker Eliza McNitt says in the video. Yeah, man.

Gates open at 6:30pm, show starts at 7:30pm; the band TIGUE opens. To find out more about the project or to donate to the Kickstarter, go here. You’re on your own to find directions to the nearest parking garage.

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