In a world divided by a pandemic, one group gathered the masses to provide a much needed escape from the harsh realities of the world. Bringing others into a different time and place filled with music, dancing, and wonders, this group provided fun and relaxation amidst chaos through the wonderful event that came to be known as The Light Blossom Festival. Though we may be separated by declarations of shelter in place, social distancing, or just naturally living far away, Final Fantasy XIV never fails to make us feel closer than ever and ignite a spark of joy within our souls, despite the negative circumstances surrounding our everyday lives.
On Friday, March 27, 2020, many players came together in front of Mih Khetto’s Amphitheatre on Shiva for an evening of fellowship and light-hearted entertainment. Beautifully choreographed musical performances of songs from FFXI, FFIX, and Chrono Trigger provided hours of entertainment for all those who were fortunate enough to witness the two main attractions; 2B & Not 2B and The Songbirds.
Every fire begins with a spark before becoming engulfing flames, and ideas such as this event are no different. The spark began with discussions amongst the members within the FC Floral Faith (led by Akai Flora, Kaida Akito, and Aera Sylvarant) regarding the current crises happening all over the globe. “We need[ed] something to pull us back up, and it just grew from there!” explains Akai. The spark ignited and the flames took off, bringing about many new ideas and volunteers from the community within the tight time frame of just two weeks. The creative masses that joined in to bring this dream into reality included Dark Horizon ≪Dark≫, Fat Cat Chronicles, FFXIV EU Discord, Floral Faith ≪trUSt≫, FFXIV EU Discord, Gayorzea, and GPosers. But while having many volunteers and ample amounts of assistance can certainly help, it can also make things slightly more difficult, though usually in a good way as Kaida explains; “The hardest part? For me it was not so much the unexpected, but rather making a plan and executing it. Saying ‘No’ sometimes to new ideas, trying to slow down people’s enthusiasm and not following up every new idea. There were so many creative people involved in it, but we had to stay aware of the fact that this whole festival cannot last 5, 6,7 hours but rather 3 at most. So scrapping an idea, not pursuing something, however great it sounded, that was very hard for me.”
Ideas, suggestions, and plans bounced around while Akai was also hard at work preparing macros for the performers. “Gosh, those macros, they took me an entire day. They just spammed away in a few hours… and now I have them.. what to do with them I wonder…” Could this be a hint, Akai? Please look forward to it…
Every fire begins with a spark before becoming engulfing flames, and ideas such as this event are no different.
Despite the difficulties in planning and selecting which ideas to fully pursue, the festival was a huge success. While performers gathered an hour before the start time for one final bit of practice, organizers met up within Discord to go over final details and preparations. Aera Sylvarant of the Floral Faith Council was among the many who experienced flurries of butterflies before the show; “I was extremely nervous one hour before the event, I was shaking in the staff Discord. I was so scared that it would fail, that people wouldn’t be interested. I was glad to say that I was wrong. Even an hour before the event, Mih Khetto’s Amphitheatre was filled. By the time the event started, I couldn’t even see the amount of people that were there.”
The Light Blossom Festival had proved to be such an overwhelming success that the servers couldn’t handle the amount of attendees, thus causing a lot of rendering issues for many viewers. Though a good sign regarding the interest in the event, this did cause some difficulty as Akai points out; “For me, I think the hardest to overcome was all the stuff we didn’t plan for! Like how many people there were! It made me super happy! But wow! Where do we put all these people?!? In a stream apparently!” Thankfully, for those who were unable to see the performance within the game itself, the festival was also live streamed on the Songbirds’ Twitch account.
Viewers flooded the amphitheater’s seating area and stage as the performers gave them the show of a lifetime. It began with a heartwarming introduction by one of the main hosts and organizers, Akai:
“Welcome everyone, thank you for joining the first ever Light Blossom Festival!
An idea, it starts out small, and a little fragile. It will only survive if it is given space to grow. The people that like the idea each all feed it a little and help it grow. Until that moment happens when you say ‘Let’s Do This!’
This festival started like that, just a tiny idea. Each and everyone that contributed to it, fed that idea and now it has become this moment. A moment that we can share with all of you together. The wishes behind this moment are strong, as we want to share with you a warm and fuzzy feeling of cheer and joy that music can bring to many of us. We may be stuck at home, but we are stuck in this with all of us together!”
Akai then turned over the stage to the unmistakably talented group 2B & Not 2B. The three adorable Lalafell, donned in the maid’s and butler attire, captured the attention of all those present quickly, featuring such songs as Vague Hope (NieR: Automata), Always with Me (Spirited Away), Kaine – Salvation (Nier) and Reset, Thank You (Okami)
The audience went wild and filled the Twitch feed with positive feedback and cheered on the crew. Many members had their glow sticks out while respectfully seated around the edge of the stage, leaving the front and center available for the performers. After their final act, 2B & Not 2B headed off stage for the intermission entertainment which consisted of a fun FFXIV mini quiz! Audience members had to be quick at the keyboard as the first member to answer the question correctly in chat would be the winner of a MogStation minion.
With the completion of the mini quiz The Songbirds were welcomed to the stage. Perfectly matching in their Valentione Rose Dresses, this octet got into place and prepared to give it their all. Sweeping the audience off of their office chairs, the Songbirds gracefully performed their first set including Eruyt Village (FF12), Only Time (Enya), Streamside (RO) and many, many more.
The group then moved on to provide the viewers with some more intermission entertainment, this time in the form of an aerobics minigame! The aerobics trainer, Ziderza Amare, and his team took the stage for a personal fitness and zumba workout session. Politely asking the audience to hide their emote chat logs, the fitness group invited them to join in on the workout, beginning with /dance. The workout session even included the musical background of Darude – Sandstorm, performed by The Songbirds!
Energized from burning all the calories, the audience sat back as the Songbirds once again got into place on stage. Captivating their audience once more, they dove right into their second and final act containing Fireflies (Owl City), Sogno di Volare (Civ6), Caramelldansen (Caramell) and Corridors of Time (CT).
After a resounding success and an audience that just couldn’t get enough, this massive festival came to a close with an astonishing fireworks display to the tune of Katy Perry – Firework, which proved to be Kaida’s fondest memory; “It is very hard to pin down what has been the best part of the whole festival or even the whole process of planning, working and executing it. But if I would need to narrow it down to one split second, it would be the explosive moment of Katie Perry’s “Fireworks.” The sheer timing of it, on my screen, in the Twitch stream and collectively in our hearts, it was really overwhelming. I could feel so much how all the energy that had been built up simply released in one short moment and everyone was just genuinely happy.”
Times may be incredibly tough, but it’s communities like these that allow us to escape from the cruelties of reality and find a place of peace, joy, and genuine camaraderie. To be able to provide such an opportunity for other players is something that is very special, and this group went above and beyond in a very short amount of time. Who knows, perhaps we’ll see them again some time? Until then, stay safe and keep this community strong my friends!
The most memorable was working together with all these amazing people!
It was and always will be a great honor to have this opportunity. Another one would be the moment we realized that we did manage to reach people in the way we intended to. The moment we realized we reached our goal. To me it is magic.
– Akai Flora, Floral Faith « trUSt »
It’s hard to pin down just one moment as my favorite when there were so many.
From getting to know all the amazing and talented people who worked on this event to the grand firework finale and everything in between, they all hold a special place in my heart.
However I would say that what i liked most about this event was how it brought so many people together from all over the world, from all walks of life to share in a experience together. And at least for a few hours out of their day they got to have fun , take a break and forget about the stress of the world around them. I was truly touched by the amount of people who came out to support this event , i feel honored to have been able to play a part in it and it made me feel wonderful to know that so many people enjoyed themselves.
I’d like to thank the performers and staff for everything that they’ve done to make this a success.
I would also like to thank the people who came and enjoyed their time. I was playing music player for my FC and various linkshells/yells, telling people what song this was, who was playing, etc., and one of my friends called me laggy because I was late to one song. I guess you can’t always be on top of things when you’re having so much fun.
– Aera Sylvarant, Floral Faith « trUSt » Council
It started with an crazy idea on a balcony, but that it became true and fulfilled peoples hearts was more then we could ever expect.
We put a lot of effort in it to give people a little moment to forget everything around them, and what happend than was more than overwhelming. The work with the people of this team was an experience I will never forget. We kind of completed each other with our talents, worked so well together, so this event became what is was at the end. For me it was one of those special moment in this game. From the balcony to the fireworks: The whole way was an amazing experience (sometimes an adventure, especially when we realized how many people showed up) and I have to thank all of these people here that I was allowed to be a part of this wonderful project. I also have to thank all the people that showed up and enjoyed the show ♥ For me it was really a matter of the heart and somehow there are still so many of us out there who could use a little distraction and support so badly that I almost feel bad that the event took place on a European server. So I really hope, that we will do something like that again. 😉
Personally my most memorable point was when the Festival started.
The organisation team was all together in Discord. Our jaws all dropped at the shere mass of people who turned up. Every bench in the theatre was filled to the brim. Then slowly the realisation set in that with all these people the bards will not load for everyone. We feared the attendees might storm the stage to even get a glimps of them and utter chaos would break out. We shortly pondered with the idea of moving the bards into a private house and stream the event. However this would have totally gone against the actual spirit of the event we had set out to do. So we had @Raven Ambree stream the event and shared the link in shout chat to help everyone see what was actually happening. People that had trouble with the stream inched a bit closer and we also used the back of the stage to fit more people in – which actually turned out pretty great with everyone bringing out their glowsticks !
Against all my expectations we had a very minimal amount of people actually trying to disturb our amazing event and even then they limited their antics to a few things and then quietly sat down again. I am still surprised how well things actually worked out. Everyone behaving so well really speaks about how we were able to capture peoples interest and hearts.
– Lyramion Ani, Floral Faith « trUSt »
At the beginning if the event we were all super excited and even a little afraid.
Would this event thing work out? Would people even care to visit? Will there be too many visitors and the server crashes? What will we do if they just leave after a few minutes or are disrespectful to our performers? And even during the event we were sitting together in discord and doing last minute changes to the program. Organizing and executing the event was really fun but also hard work. So, for me the most memorable part was the firework. It was basically the very last part of the event. And we were like 20 persons in discord together all waiting for the songbirds to give us the signal to start the firework. And then we were all laughing and cheering because WE DID IT and you could really see how all started to relax again. I really loved how we were all together in that moment and then other people started doing firework as well and wrote nice comments in the stream. For me one of the most important ideas behind the event was, that we did not want to perform just in front of the crowd but get them involved and be part of the event. And in that moment, I felt like we succeeded.
– Kaya Kozakura, Floral Faith « trUSt »
During the festival, I switched between different Discord servers, of course including that of Free Company.
The atmosphere on the servers was always the same: people were surprised and invited more and more of their friends to watch this festival. They enjoyed the music and the shows together and kept talking about it. They were happy when they recognized a song and even more when it was one of their favorites from a game. During the final and the encore, countless sang along. It was an uncanny feeling for me to experience these reactions!
– Lucia Lawliet, Dark Horizon « Dark »
That we could find such unity in the chaos was inspiring.
Everything was a surprise, and a reminder of how charming our community can be; except for that guy who was having an aneurysm over lalafells sitting on the stage of course, may he rest in peace. That said, I’m very much looking forward to the next hilarious and beautiful festival! We’ll keep practicing.