Walker Hayes made history as the first artist to ever use holograms at a country music concert.
The “Fancy Like” singer was beamed into the Live In The Vineyard Goes Country Festival (Presented By Visit Napa Valley) in Napa Valley, California, using Proto since he couldn’t attend the event in person.
Hayes virtually appeared at the event using Proto, “the first device that lets people beam themselves to a location thousands of miles away and interact with people there,” according to the technology’s official website. Proto, which was previously called Portl, was founded by David Nussbaum in Los Angeles in 2019.
In addition to the festival where Hayes appeared virtually, Proto has appeared at Comic-Con, the Saturn Awards, the televised iHeartMusic Festival, and the 2020 Emmys Red Carpet, also according to its official website.
A video of Hayes performing his hit “Fancy Like” virtually during the festival was posted to Proto’s Instagram account.
“Always a good time beaming mega stars around the world, but turning @walkerhayes into a hologram and sending him to @liveinthevineyard in Napa to perform Fancy Like is one of the more fun holoportations Proto has done,” the post read. “If you can’t be there, beam there!,” it continued.
“It is pretty amazing that we can basically be beamed wherever we’re supposed to be and honestly we should do this more,” Hayes recently told Forbes. “I don’t have to leave the kids. I could just do these [performances] from my house,” he added.
“It’s one take so I thought that was really neat,” Hayes added. “You get very personable. If you mess up you say, ‘Oops, I messed that up. Let’s keep going.’ I didn’t feel very restricted. I basically played like I would at a writers’ round sitting on a stool behind the mic. I just spoke into the camera like I was talking to an audience every night.”
In the Instagram video Proto posted of Hayes, he explained that he couldn’t attend the festival event in person because he was busy promoting his new book, Glad You’re Here. Hayes wrote the book with his friend Craig Allen Cooper.
The book details Cooper’s role in Hayes’ conversion from a struggling alcoholic and atheist to a Christian and the unlikely friendship they formed.
Hayes is also not shying away from more virtual performances.
On April 30, he will be joining Lizzo for the second annual Song Breaker Awards, which will take place in Roblox.
Besides Hayes, Proto has been used by Ellen Degeneres, P. Diddy, Migos, Howie Mandel, Marshawn Lynch, Usain Bolt, Kane Brown and has also been featured on The Today Show.