Devin Townsend teams with Wes Hauch to perform entire cancelled Bloodstock festival set via "ambitious" virtual concert

Devin Townsend performing live at the Hellfest Festival 2017 in Clisson, near Nantes
(Image credit: Alessandro Bosio/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

As we recently reported, Devin Townsend has been filling his quarantined days raising more than $100,000 for COVID-19 relief through home studio live video concerts, recording and releasing an hour-long ambient guitar instrumental and video jamming with Brazilian thrash legends Sepultura.

Now, the electric guitar player has announced a new virtual event, Empath Volume 2: By Request, which will see him perform the set he was scheduled to play at the UK’s Bloodstock Open Air festival this year.

Townsend’s band for the performance will include guitarist and Seymour Duncan signature pickup artist Wes Hauch, former Dillinger Escape Plan bassist Liam Wilson drummer Samus Paulicelli.

Explained Townsend, “So, I was thrilled to announce my headlining of Bloodstock this year, and with an eye on doing my first 'by request' set that included my entire career (including Strapping Young Lad and all the Devin Townsend Project albums), I know there were a lot of people that were really excited as well.

“But then, as we all know, circumstances prevented that from happening, and that was disappointing as the show was meant to be a pivotal moment in my creative career. But every roadblock is an opportunity for something different so we have come up with a plan to bring you the show in a way I believe will be kind of revolutionary and damned exciting.”

Townsend continued, "We have been working tirelessly to bring you a 'virtual' concert of the ‘by request’ set, with musicians playing together, yet all in different parts of the world. However, I wanted to do something different, not the 'Brady Bunch' type split screen visuals filmed on smartphones (they are cool, but also not really exciting in my opinion).

“Instead, we have opted to make a full production, filming ourselves separately, playing our instruments live, on greenscreens, with eight cameras each (all at the same heights and distances for each of our remote shoots) and then combine these elements on a crazy virtual stage. It's ambitious, but I think the closest to a monster concert as can be achieved this summer. Considering everyone is scattered throughout the land yet not wanting to 'let the dream die' we have stumbled upon something rather amazing I think.”

In addition to the performance, Townsend will answer viewer questions throughout “to make it a totally interactive experience that acts not only as a cool way to spend a Saturday, but also as a potentially new way to do concerts entirely.

“The players I have hired have worked their butts off learning the material, and it's going to be one of the coolest things I’ve done in recent memory.”

The performance, which will be the full 85-minute Bloodstock set, will take place through StageIt on September 5.

“It's not just any quarantine concert; this one is a quantum leap of sound and visuals,” Townsend said. “I can’t wait for you to see this.”

Tickets are on sale now. To purchase, head to StageIt.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.