Five Must-Haves for Your Festival’’s Mobile App

For anyone setting up a mobile app for their upcoming festival, why not take advantage of the mobile technology that most of your users are carrying, and use it to create a more memorable, more enjoyable experience for them?

Creating a mobile app for a festival can help you notify users about special events, upcoming shows, and even traffic and lodging information. And if you have it built correctly, you don’t have to reinvent this app every year. Instead, create a shell that just requires new data each year.

Here are five things every festival mobile app should have:

1. Push notification

If you need to alert festival goers to bad weather approaching, or worse, if a dangerous person or animal is on the loose, push notification is the seamless way to reach everyone at once. Lollapalooza in Chicago this summer did a great job of alerting everyone to an approaching storm, and then quickly notified people when the storm had passed, the gates had reopened, and it was possible to return to the concert.

2. Accurate lineup schedule

Alert people to when each band or performing artist is performing, and where. If the band runs overtime, or the schedule or venue has changed, use push notification to let people know. People want to create their schedules and monitor them so they don’t miss their favorite performers.

3. Map of the event

Create user-friendly icons and a legend — people need to know where the stages are, food and beverage vendors, restrooms, merchandise vendors, and equally important, the phone charging stations.

4. Free music or videos

If your festival has performing artists, they are there for the exposure, so help them get exposed – have an easy link to download two free songs to the user’s Pandora library, watch a video of their performance, book their after-festival concerts, purchase their music, books, poetry, art, videos, band apps or wallpaper downloads. Make it easy for the fans and the performers to reconnect after the festival. Provide information and previews about the performers so the audience gets a briefing before seeing someone they’re not familiar with.

5. Geotracking of attendees

On the festival organizers’ side of the event, create an app with geotracking of its users, so organizers could identify which bands pulled the largest audiences, which paths saw the most foot traffic (to provide metrics for future advertisers) and even which vendors did the best sales, to determine premium vendor locations for next year.

Keep in mind that this does NOT refer to keeping tabs on each and every user. Rather, it would be an aggregate of anonymous counts (i.e. 5,000 people were over here, 2,300 people were over there), and would not keep track of each and every user (i.e. not “Jim went here, Susan went there.”)

Several of us at Interapt regular attend festivals and use their festival apps, so we’ve got a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t. If you’re interested in coming up with some ideas for your next festival app, let us know, and we’ll be able to brief you on what’s possible, and what you can do for next year’s festival.

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