How to Host a Successful (Virtual) Watch Party

November 19, 2020

If you’re anything like me, trying to keep people safe often takes the form of another night on the couch. Though this could be an isolating experience, the ability to connect online presents a world of opportunities to be with those you love virtually.

If you’ve been tuning in to our 2020-21 Virtual Concert Season, you’ll know that we’ve been trying to make the experience as close to that of an in-person concert as possible. From teaching you how to cast the concert to your tv screen to hosting Q&A’s after our Rising Stars concerts featuring your questions, we want you to feel like you’re really there. We realize, though, that something is missing: the socialization you enjoy at a live concert. 

To fill this void, we have a suggestion for you: host a virtual watch party! With just eight quick steps, you’ll be on your way to chatting with your closest friends and family about the music, the artist, and the experience of our next live stream concert.

1. Set up a video chat for an hour before the concert.

Conversation is really what makes the concert experience great, so make sure you’re setting up plenty of time to talk before and after! Planning a video chat in advance is the best way to ensure this happens. Create a meeting with Zoom or Google Meet, copy the link, and paste it into your virtual invitation.


2. Send out a virtual invitation.

Nothing says, “I’ll be there!” quite like a good invitation. First, gather the email addresses of those you wish to invite. If you’d like to create a nice-looking e-vite, we recommend checking out Poply, a free, online invitation creator. Not only does it let you upload your email list and send the invitations from there, but it also keeps track of RSVPs.

Here are just a few things we suggest you include:

  • A link to your video chat meeting
  • A link for getting their ticket to the concert
  • A description of what you’ll be doing
    Watch The Gilmore’s Live Stream concert with me!
    I’ll be hosting a virtual cocktail party over video chat an hour before the concert for us to catch-up and sip-up.
    We can talk over text during the concert and resume our video chat to hear everyone’s thoughts after the concert.
    I hope I’ll see you there (virtually)!



3. Pick out a cocktail to make together separately.

No virtual cocktail hour would be complete without a cocktail. Pick out a recipe you think your guests will enjoy and attach it in the description of your e-vite. Starting the video chat with your reviews of the drink will help get the conversation going (especially since many of us are getting a little rusty!)

Not sure what to pick? Why not try out one of our Digital Media Coordinator, Abigail’s, favorite drinks? Originating on the Austrian border, the ‘Hugo’ brings together elderflower liqueur, seltzer water, and prosecco to make a refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for a Sunday afternoon. You can read the full recipe here.


4. Make your own charcuterie board.

Need something to pair with your cocktail? Try a charcuterie board! Break out a wooden cutting board and gather up some meats and cheeses. Not sure what to pick? This blog might help.


5. Start a group chat to make sure everyone is on the same page.

The nice part about watching our concerts virtually is that you can talk during them without disturbing anyone else’s experience! Create a group chat through texting (or a third-party app like GroupMe or WhatsApp if you’re conversing with a large group or people internationally) so that you can send a reminder on the day of your virtual meet and so people will have a place to comment back and forth during the actual concert. 


6. Dress up and set the mood!

There are not many occasions that require you to get dressed up, so we’ll take any excuse we can get. Put on your fanciest attire, light some candles, grab a cozy blanket, and get ready to watch the concert. Need help setting up your live stream? Read our blog about getting a ticket and casting to your tv.


7. Host your hang!

You’ve done all the hard work, now it’s time to sit back and relax! Chat with your friends before the concert and then make a plan to video chat again after the concert is over.


8. Pick someone to plan your next virtual concert!

Did you have a good time? Choose someone else to host your next virtual concert watch party and send this blog their way!

Did you take any of our advice? Post a picture to your social media account and tag us @GilmoreFestival or use our hashtags, #TheGilmore and #VirtuallyGilmore — we’d love to see what you did.

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