Commemorating Anzac Day in Flanders Fields while in isolation through live streaming.

Objective - As the regular Anzac Day ceremonies had been cancelled in Flanders Fields due to COVID-19 restrictions, Visit Flanders wanted to find a way to connect with the community in Australia and New Zealand to make sure that the Anzac sacrifice and contribution in Belgium during World War One was still recognised and commemorated.

Action – With very tight restrictions on citizens in Belgium due to the pandemic and no additional budget available, it was decided to livestream a carillon (bells housed in the bell tower) concert, from the bells of the magnificent Cloth Hall in Ypres in Flanders Fields.  The concert was scheduled for the evening of Anzac Day in Australia and NZ.

The carillon is played by a single musician and was recorded on a camera set up in the town square on the clock face of the bell tower.  This way it was evident that the one hour concert was live, as the hour ticked by.

The concert was promoted on Visit Flanders’ popular @FlandersFields 14-18 social media sites, as well as through Ypres Tourism and the Australian and New Zealand Belgian embassies. 

The event was advertised two days prior on the Flanders Field’s Facebook page promoting the concert and achieved a reach in excess of 50,000 people.

Outcome – This was the first attempt at live-streaming a concert of this kind.  It was anticipated around 2,000 people would participate, however final figures indicated the concert was enjoyed by over 60,000 people.

More significant than the numbers though, was the interaction between communities around the world.  From all corners of Australia and New Zealand, people typed their messages of remembrance and their thanks to the town of Ypres, Belgium. 

The concert achieved the objective of commemorating the fallen on Anzac Day in Flanders Fields. It also forged a deep emotional bond with the audience.  While it was not a tourism promotion as such, the connection created through the concert, particularly bringing the world together at a time of isolation, will linger long when international travel resumes.

Watch the concert: ANZAC-day concert