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Festival organizers are now tracking your every move. That could actually be a good thing in one particular instance.

Running a music festival is a risky thing. Will people show up? Will the weather cooperate? Will the bands turn in proper performances? Will the fans enjoy themselves? Will the infrastructure hold up or collapse?

There’s so much that can go wrong that you can never have too much data. This is why both Live Nation and AEG, the two biggest concert promoters on the planet, are using RFID bracelets to track what you do when you go to one of those festivals.

Don’t worry. They’re not spying on you individually. These bracelets collect anonymized data that helps organizers better understand crowd behaviour and movements while on the festival site. And because some of these RFID devices can be loaded up with cash ahead of time, you can just tap to purchase things like food and merchandise.

As a result, organizers can track:

  • Which swag stands are the busiest.
  • Crowd flow from the campgrounds to the festival site.
  • How alcohol and food are selling from each of the bars and food stands. Which ones need to be replenished and when?
  • Speaking of alcohol and food: What drinks are selling the best? What food items?
  • The size of crowds in front of the various stages and how people came and went during a particular set (good metrics for bands and managers)
  • And perhaps most importantly, are there enough portaloos? When do people tend to go to the bathroom the most often? This data can be used to keep lines short and to know how to most efficiently dispatch the honey wagons to pump these things out.

AdAge has a whole story on this. It’s the future, man.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38562 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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