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U.K. Jazz Artist Theon Cross to Perform as 3D Digital Avatar at SXSW

Unique virtual performance captures a set Cross and his band recorded at Abbey Road Studios


British jazz artist Theon Cross will give the first 3D digital avatar performance at South by Southwest this year, with the annual festival going virtual due to Covid-19.

Cross’ avatar experience will launch March 16th at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT, and will be available to watch on SXSW’s online virtual platform. The show — which follows similar events like Travis Scott appearing as an avatar in Fortnite, or Lil Nas X performing virtually in Roblox — was produced by British Underground in conjunction with SXSW, with support from Arts Council England’s Future Art and Culture program. More info on the set is available here.

A short behind-the-scenes clip offers a look at how the avatar performance came together as well. Cross, an acclaimed tuba player, and his band were outfitted with special motion capture technology before filming a live set at Abbey Road studios, which was then transformed into a wholly digital event. The performance will feature new music from Cross’ next album, details of which will be announced soon.

“At a time when traveling and playing live is not possible, exploring new avenues for connecting my music with the widest possible audience becomes a real focus,” Cross said in a statement. “With a new album on the way later this year, this opportunity has created a way for me to gain the kind of exposure that only showcasing at SXSW can bring despite not being able to leave London.”

Along with his avatar performance, Cross will deliver a more traditional set during a showcase from Jazz Re:freshed and British Underground, taking place March 16th at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT. The lineup will also boast Doom Cannon, Camilla George, Richard Spaven, Noya Rao, and Daniel Casimir, and Tess Hirst.

From Rolling Stone US