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Sam Smith, Rita Ora and Anne-Marie to take part in virtual Radio 1’s Big Weekend

Sam Smith will perform as part of the festival (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Sam Smith will perform as part of the festival (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Sam Smith, Biffy Clyro, Anne-Marie, Rita Ora and Young T & Bugsey are among the acts who will perform remotely for a virtual version of the Radio 1’s Big Weekend music festival.

The BBC announced that more than 50 new live sets will be recorded for the festival by artists from their own homes.

The physical event was due to take place in Dundee later this month, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A band statement from Biffy Clyro said: “As much as we’d love to be performing live on stage, this will be a whole new experience for us and we cannot wait.”

The virtual festival will take place between May 22 and 24 and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 1, with full sets available on BBC Sounds.

BBC Radio 1 presenter Greg James said: “It’ll be a great opportunity to relive some of our favourite performances from over the years, and although it’ll be a technical nightmare, having some new performances from artists’ houses will be great for everyone, to have something fun to watch and listen to over the bank holiday weekend.

“And if it all goes wrong, we can just blame the pandemic and say that at least we tried.”

Greg James
James said the festival would be a ‘technical nightmare’ (Lia Toby/PA)

In addition to the newly recorded live sets, about 50 previous performances from the festival will be played, including Katy Perry’s set in Glasgow and Miley Cyrus’ performance in Middlesbrough.

Aled Haydn Jones, head of programmes for BBC Radio 1, said that the festival is an opportunity “for us to give something back to our listeners”.

He added: “I’m delighted that, despite the challenging times we find ourselves in, we’re still able to host an event that brings people together.”

The festival will take place between May 22 and 24.

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