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UK’s Biggest Immersive VR Experience Set For Belfast XR Festival 2025

An internationally acclaimed, award-winning interactive VR adventure that transports you into the heart of the Acid House movement is heading for Belfast early next year.


In Pursuit Of Repetitive Beats, produced by East City Films and created by Darren Emerson, has added Belfast to its eight-city UK tour.


In partnership with Belfast XR Festival the experience will take audiences back in time to the beginning of the Acid House movement and the creation of UK rave culture telling a multicultural story of collaboration and unity that celebrates music, friendship, and the joy of youth.


Belfast XR Festival, entering its fourth year, specialises in curating worldclass immersive technology content that takes the art of storytelling to a new level.


Extended Reality or ‘XR’ is the collective name for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). VR is a computer-generated artificial environment with scenes that appear to be real, while AR is a digital overlay onto the real world, which is viewed through your phone or an iPad. 


Deepa Mann-Kler, director and curator for Belfast XR Festival which is an annual gathering for the XR arts - storytelling, visual arts, music, drama, dance, literature and theatre, said she is delighted to be showcasing In Pursuit Of Repetitive Beats at the forthcoming 2025 festival.


She said: “Northern Ireland has an incredible track record when it comes to music which is internationally recognised. 

“It made sense to bring this work to Belfast as it also features music by a leading Northern Irish artist Max Cooper. Belfast also holds the prestigious UNESCO City of Music title. 


“This marks a debut and premiere for the work on the island of Ireland. We are looking forward to this exciting collaboration with East City Films.”


The experience, which is jointly supported by Arts Council England and BFI, will take audiences on ‘a multi-sensory joyride into the heart of a working-class revolution in dance’.


Viewers of the experience will witness the joy of tracking down and arriving at an all-night illegal warehouse party at the height of the rave scene in Coventry, 1989 by stepping into the shoes of rave culture pioneers.  


“Bringing to life the stories of the promoters, police officers, pirate radio stations, and secret warehouse rave-goers, whose rivalries and relationships drove a revolution in music and society, the film features euphoric rave anthems such as Chime by Orbital and Energy Flash by Joey Beltram. 


Beats uses Virtual Reality (VR) technology to fully immerse audiences in a one-hour multi-sensory interactive experience that is awash with meticulous period detail. It surrounds participants with the sounds, senses, and the thrill of being young (again).  


Director Darren Emerson, East City Films said: “With In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats I wanted to take audiences back to a moment where a community formed from their passion for music, dance and freedom of expression.  


“In a modern society where we are constantly monitored, and tracked by devices, this experience, although using technology, seeks to reunite audiences with the thrill of freedom and those important, crazy nights where we not only find our friends, but truly find ourselves.


“The response to Beats has been overwhelming; seeing people emerge from VR moved and excited and wanting to connect with each other has been so rewarding.  


“After success touring Internationally, I’m delighted we are now bringing Beats back to the UK, to connect with the audiences that were shaped in some way by the cultural revolution that was Acid House.”  


The creative team behind Beats spent time making the experience fully accessible to all audiences, accessible to wheelchair users with a seated version and d/Deaf audiences with subtitles, Haptics (vibration), Access Packs, VR Explainer and scene descriptions and Touch Tour.


To further enhance the experience, East City Films has partnered with Woojer. Woojer’s innovative haptic vests will add to the multi-sensory journey, immersing users in a vibrant auditory landscape and enhancing accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. This collaboration aims to deliver an inclusive experience that resonates deeply with all audiences.

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