Dillo Day will be online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting continuation of online classes, according to Mayfest Productions.
Mayfest Productions Co-Chairs Rocco Palermo and Nicholas Khang, both fourth-years, said Dillo Day 2020 had been in development since last summer. Because of this, Palermo said, the pandemic caused a large disruption after months of work.
“After Dance Marathon was cancelled, day-by-day it was becoming more of a possibility that in-person Dillo wasn't going to happen this year,” Palermo said. “So we just started with working on some form of contingency plan, just exploring options, seeing what we could even pull off if spring quarter went remote.”
The solution? Digital Dillo, a music festival delivered to students entirely through streaming.
Palermo said details about the event are mostly still in development, given the quick timeline Mayfest has had to adapt the festival to an online format. The first performer, electronic producer Jai Wolf, was announced Friday, but the rest of the lineup and more details about the event will be made public on a rolling basis.
The festival will include more opportunities for engaging the audience and promoting the work of student organizations involved in art and music. According to Palermo and Khang, Mayfest is organizing other elements as well, including artist Q&As or inside looks at their workspaces, to add another dimension to the Digital Dillo experience.
“We're not trying to just copy and paste it from an in-person to online format,” Palermo said.
Despite the difficulty and disconnection brought on by COVID-19, Mayfest wants to make Digital Dillo a positive experience that students can still enjoy together.
“We're going to encourage people to schedule group calls where they can watch it together or just have something they can talk about with their friends,” Khang said.
A student-focused experience might be able to make everyone’s quarantine a little less lonely, Palermo added.
“The whole hope is that we can garner enough interest in the event that people are tuning in, people are seeing their friends tune in and...you're still sort of getting this Northwestern community-wide activity or sense of belonging, even if it's sitting behind your own screen at home,” Palermo said.
In the middle of these difficult times, Khang hopes that Digital Dillo can still be a source of solidarity and celebration for the student body.
“I feel like Dillo’s one day where everyone kind of gets excited,” Khang said. “And if we can sort of provide that year-end type of closure for people, I think it'd be cool to see people rally behind it.”