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Tech At Bonnaroo

For the last 12 years, thousands of people have flocked to Manchester, TN to soak in the sun, music and good vibes for Bonnaroo. Bonnaroo is one of the largest music festivals in the US and wrapped up its four days of non-stop music and activities this past Sunday. I was fortunate enough to attend the festival again and not only was the event environmentally conscious but technologically advanced as well. The Website The Bonnaroo website serves as a Roo-goer's home base for everything from lineup info, tickets, news, videos and even a post-Roo "lost and found" powered by great-karma.com. This year, Bonnaroo teamed up with PROD4ever and WPEngine to create an appealing website with all of the bells and whistles an event of this size needs to run smoothly. The main site itself was powered by WordPress with WPEngine managing WordPress hosting service -  handling everything from support to site speed. The partnershipworked well given the site's size and stature. Mobile App Bonnaroo's website was great both on desktop and on mobile because of its responsive theme. There are however some things that are better suited for a native app and that's where the Bonnaroo app came into play. It mirrored a lot of the content from the website in a more mobile friendly manner and introduced some mobile only features like a trip planner for the drive down. The app was developed and maintained by Nashville-based Aloompa, who seem to have a monopoly on the festival mobile app department. RFID The best tech integration at Bonnaroo the past two years has to be their RFID wristbands. They acted as your ticket into Bonnaroo and they were scanned every time you headed into "Center-roo" to see a show. These wristbands made it a lot harder for people to sneak in or create fake tickets. The wristbands also created a bunch of opportunities for interactive experiences. People were encouraged to register their bracelet and connect it to Facebook and Twitter before the event, so they could use check-in locations at each stage to automatically update their status and hopefully make their friends jealous enough to want to attend next year. Checking-in was as easy as holding your bracelet up to one of the RFID scanners, a single beep and a green light and you were on your way. Some of the stations even allowed you to pose for a quick picture that would get posted automatically. Last year, this social experiment generated over 200,000 check-ins. Still waiting for the numbers on this year. Streaming Video All of the cool festivals are doing it. It's actually what got me interested in attending my first Bonnaroo last year. This year, Bonnaroo teamed up with UStream to broadcast two channels, so you were always in on the action. The high quality footage will be released slowly to the public over the course of the year to garner interest in next year's festival. In addition to UStream, Bonnaroo teamed up with ChirpVision to stream 3 live shows at once to the audiences' mobile devices. All you had to do was download their app, and you could take advantage of their free-wifi and video streaming service. Honorable Mention It's not new or directly connected to Bonnaroo in any way, but boy is it awesome. Most people who attend Bonnaroo drive from whatever part of the county they hail from. This year, we used the Waze app for directions to Bonnaroo instead of our old friend Google Maps. Waze is one of the coolest apps I've used in awhile. It's slowly been building a loyal community of people who report things like traffic, accidents, speed traps, hazards etc. The app can then help you re-route to avoid potential delays and even warn others of upcoming hazards. I can't wait to use this app again for my next road trip. Wrapping It Up Bonnaroo is more than a music festival. It's the perfect blend of music, art and technology to create a truly amazing experience. It is officially safe to leave your phone in your car and forget about it until it's time to pack up Monday morning. With Bonnaroo's high quality videos and easy check-in stations there's no need live life through a small screen when it is happening right in front of you. Bonnaroo is an experiment gone right, and I can't wait for next year.

A Festival of Opportunity

It's 2:00 AM, and the night has just begun. I am in the middle of a packed crowd, waiting for Deadmau5 to take the stage. Despite the 90 degree heat, I see only smiles, peace, and happiness. The crowd is buzzing with excitement and literally glowing thanks to thousands of glow sticks and LED toys. Looking back on my weekend thus far, I can't believe How many times I've been told 'I love you' by complete strangers All of the new delicious food and beer I've sampled The talent and variety of artists that I've been able to jam to' Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder, The Dead Weather, Mumford and Sons, Kings of Leon, Damien Marley, to name a few ' and I still have another full day of music to go! Needless to say, after my first music festival, I was hooked. Instead of succumbing to sleep after a near-sleepless weekend and a 16-hour drive home, I collapsed on my couch, laptop in hand, determined to find my next fest. Much to my dismay, there was a serious lack of centralized information on these events. To make matters worse, the little information that is out there tends to be hard to find, outdated, and unreliable. After discussing these frustrations with my web developer boyfriend, Steve, we decided to solve the problem ourselves. We created the site: festobsessed.com to make it easier to find reliable festival information and advice. Our site features an event map and calendar, blog, and forum for sharing pictures and ideas. Despite the wild popularity of music festivals, the online community is undeveloped, which poses ample opportunity for brands. In addition to a strong online presence, the festival scene is also lacking in another area ' vending. Festival goers consider the weekend to be a vacation and spend accordingly. After all, 'wasting money puts you in a real party mood,'? as Andy Warhol so insightfully proclaimed. Most people go with plenty of cash in their pockets and are looking to empty them on new, unique items. I have left several festivals disappointed in the lack of shopping that I had accomplished, due to lack of vendors, lack of variety, and shops running out of merchandise. However, not every brand will be welcomed with open arms. Do not plan on only putting up banners and signs and expect positive feedback. For the best results, tailor your presence to us. Have your brand provide art installations, an air-conditioned lounge, or another amenity that meets our needs. Keep in mind that the community as a whole is young (18-28), artsy, environmentally conscious, fit, healthy, passionate, and open-minded. Patrons hope to leave with memories of great music, interesting people, and new experiences. Any way in which our experience is enhanced will be appreciated and remembered. The music festival scene is an under tapped market in terms of online resources, vending, and festival-specific marketing. It is hard to even estimate the scope of opportunity considering the high attendance rates (in total, millions of young adults), number of events (more than 300 in the U.S.), and media coverage, especially for big events like Coachella or Lollapalooza. By associating your brand with our favorite weekend of the year, you will be cementing your products in some of our most beloved pictures, videos, memories, and shopping bags.

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