By Maddie Rish, Everfest
Consider this: when Woodstock Music & Arts Fair took Bethel, New York by storm in 1969, there was little more than the landline telephone and word of mouth to inform the country of what was about to take place. Yet somehow, on the weekend of August 15, nearly half a million attendees flooded a 600-acre hay field for the most monumental free music festival to date.
The booming festival scene we’re immersed in today has evolved in unimaginable ways since Woodstock’s inception – an inevitable transformation when you’re living in a digital world. Unlike 46 years ago, the revelers of today roam the festival grounds with some sort of smart phone on hand at all times. Many would argue that this devotion to our devices is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to the live show experience.
We’ve all been on both sides of the equation. I can’t say I haven’t whipped my phone out mid-show to record my favorite song, but surely I’ve wanted to nudge the the chick next to me with her face buried into her screen. But that’s not to say we’re doomed here. Perhaps there’s a way to reverse the cycle. What if we could use our phones as a way to connect offline; to actually enhance our festival experience?
Take these festival apps as an example: There’s Mix’d–essentially a Tinder for festivals–where revelers at shows or festivals are matched with others based on their shared music interests. Or Everfest, which provides users with full lineups, updated schedules, interactive maps and the ability to set meeting spots throughout the festival grounds with the ‘friend finder’ feature.
In this technology-saturated world we’re living in, it would be unrealistic to do away with our devices completely. That’s why we can appreciate apps like these which flow through the festival scene without taking people away from the magic happening right in front of them. It’s important that we continue to adopt these sort of digital tendencies–particularly in the world of festivals, where connecting with others is an essential component of the experience.