January 21, 2014

The Makeup of a 2014 Festival

47 years ago, over 50,000 music lovers gathered in California for what is now considered to be the origin of the modern day festival: Monterey International Pop Music Festival. Of course, things have changed a fair bit since then.

Thousands of festivals across Europe attract millions of visitors every year meaning that organisers are under increased pressure to provide a top experience in such a competitive market. From the attendee perspective too, festivaling has evolved into quite the fine art nowadays. So what will festivals look like in 2014?


As of July last year, over 40 festivals globally were using “radio-frequency identification” wristbands. Why? Fast-track entry, cashless payments and, something we’re all about here at ticketscript, integration with social media.

ID&C, suppliers of RFID wristbands, say that by facilitating their attendees’ social connection with them in this way, festival organisers can benefit in several ways:

New revenue streams and enhancements for sponsors and brands
Real time promotions before, during and after an event
The ability to ‘check-In’, ‘like’ and Tweet using an admission wristband
Festival-goers become brand advocates, projecting their experience to a like-minded online audience

It’s a big technological trend helping pave the way to the truly “connected” festival.


It’s now less a case of whether there *is* an app for the festival you’re going to and more a question of *how good* that app is. The giants of the festival circuit have been pushing their apps for 2-3 years now. They’re becoming more sophisticated every year and the smaller outfits are also innovating with app offerings where budgets allow – read more about companies who provide bespoke apps for event organisers.


For those that can’t live without it and take their precious, prized smartphone with them out into the fields, they’ll want to ensure they make the most of the risk they’re taking by sharing as much of the fun they’re having as possible.

The vintage vibe of Instagram has made it the king of festival platforms over the last couple of years, but will this be the year Vine takes over? A ComScore report from last month noted a sudden rise in video views on Facebook and credited increased posting of Vine videos on Facebook as part of the explanation.

The “Festival” Phone

Today, many of us carry around the best of part £500 in technology in our pocket without even thinking about it. In day-to-day life, we can do so safely and practically, but when it comes to attending a festival, your activities, the amenities and the general environment around you make it rather less advisable to do this. Rain + mud = breakages. Alcohol + confusion = loss/theft. Limited electricity + no 3G = a useless brick.

Noticing the rise in purchases of inexpensive, basic phones procured to tackle this very concern, manufacturers like Nokia are now marketing a specific “Festival Mobile Phone”. It wasn’t long ago that handsets like that were cutting edge, it has a COLOUR screen and everything.

Brands and Entertainment

Brand involvement with festivals is nothing new. Sponsorship throughout all aspects of festivals is a huge revenue stream for organisers but, as consumer comms evolve, brands are looking for innovative ways of gaining the right kind of exposure at festivals.

A case in point is the Doritos Mariachi Band. Backed by a huge TV ad campaign, the “official” Doritos band made an appearance at London’s Wireless Festival in July 2013. The eccentric quintet acted as a live jukebox, taking requests from hoards of visitors to perform a selection of hits in very Mariachi fashion.

Throughout 2014, it’ll be interesting to see how else brands continue to differentiate themselves in the growing swarm of festival sponsors.


Who knows if the organisers of the legendary Woodstock knew what they were paving the way for half a century down the line, or what they’d make of the modern day festival?

We’re very excited to be working on some fantastic festivals this year at ticketscript, from the music world and beyond. Drop us a line if you have any questions about ticketing or entrance management for your event, and keep an eye on the blog for our insider tips in the run up to the spring and summer season.

What do you think will be a defining trait of festivals in 2014? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ticketscript.

By Dominick Soar