When summer arrives, we get very happy here at Noodle Live! The summer festival season in the UK is globally celebrated as one of the best in the world – known for great music, amazing site conversions and a friendly, free-living vibe that sends everyone home with a huge smile on their face.
Festival organisers and event organisers have a lot in common. True, you might not have to worry about overflowing portaloos or mountains of mud, but there’s definitely a lot to learn by looking at how festivals create an amazing experience for their attendees.
We’ve been scoping out some of the coolest innovations from the festival scene and thinking about what event organisers can learn from their music festival counterparts.
RFID Wristbands from the International Music Festival Conference
Techradar reports that three million Facebook likes and a billion cashless transactions have taken place using RFID wristbands at festivals. Major festivals like VFestival, Isle of Wight and Coachella have all started issuing festivalgoers with wristbands that they can connect to their credit card and social media accounts.
By swiping the wristband at various checkpoints, attendees can pay for goods and services, gain access to specific areas of the festival and share updates with their network about the amazing time they’re having.
Dabbling with Drones
At the OppiKoppi music festival in South Africa thirsty attendees were able to get cold beer delivered straight into their hands by ordering a drone delivery through a mobile app that pinpointed their location using GPS. The team used a dedicated “drop zone” campsite and gave away the beer for free as part of a promotional exercise. What better way to surprise and delight tech-savvy partiers than with free beer that arrives by parachute?!
At Roskilde Festival in Denmark in 2011 a team of researchers set up an experiment to observe the behaviour of the 100,000 strong crowd. They used 33 Bluetooth scanners scattered around the festival that recorded the activity of any Bluetooth-enabled phone that passed by.
Over 8 days they recorded more than 1 million data points from more than 8500 different devices (around 6% of the total festival population). Each device registered more than 140 times at the various locations.
They used the data to analyse how people were moving around festivals – whether they jumped from stage to stage or stayed in one place, what kind of groups they travelled in and how the acts they saw related to one another. They presented their findings this year and you can read their paper here.
Access to data of this kind would help event organisers to book speakers, decide event flow and gauge content popularity. Bluetooth might be on its way out, but the idea of using RFID/NFC to gather similar info about an event should be incredibly interesting to events professionals.
The Wow Factor
No post on festival tech would be complete without a mention of Coachella’s infamous hologram projection of Tupac in 2012. He ‘performed’ alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg using a cunning blend of mirrors and projection mapping technology that had everyone paying attention, whether at the festival or following along online.
We’re not saying that the resurrection of a dead rap superstar is something event organisers should necessarily emulate (and the company who created the installation is now bankrupt, oh no!) However, it’s a classic example of using technology to deliver a groundbreaking experience to attendees that garnered insane amounts of media attention.
Set aside some budget for tech activations and installations that can wow your crowd and suit your audience profile and you’ll be sure to reap the benefits. SXSW is a great example of a multi-faceted festival and event experience that knows how to push the boundaries of tech.
If you’d like to know more about the latest event technology and how it could help with your conference or event. Why not book one of our free Event Tech Clinic sessions? We’re offering free workshops and advice to event organisers, because well, we’re nice like that!
About Noodle Live
Noodle Live brings a seamless social experience to events, conferences and exhibitions using a combination of mobile applications and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) swipe cards to streamline information sharing.
This post was written by Thom Feeney, Marketing Manager at Noodle Live