Following the late arrival of Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary due to COVID-19, the festival season is now well underway. Music lovers and festival-goers are packing their wellies, smartphones, tents and everything but the kitchen sink before making their way across the country.

A relatively new attendee in recent years has been the arrival of advanced festival technology and innovation. Each year, organisers seek new and creative ways to amplify the festival experience for their patrons. The use of tech particularly within the music festival industry goes above and beyond to enhance not only experiences but also to increase efficiency, functionality, support creativity and fun.

Whether it’s the power of connectivity, groundbreaking apps, incredible stage shows, live streams or contactless currencies, the relationship between technology and festivals is rapidly expanding. Let’s take a look at some of the latest innovations in festival tech.

Centre Stage

It’s an exciting time for live performance with the executing of extraordinary stage shows. Advancing technology used by artistic directors and their performers is raising the bar on sound and visuals for audiences. Amplification and sound quality is improving to enhance the listening experience, whilst more extravagant light shows and visuals are taking centre stage.

The Chemical Brothers live show by directors Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall

The Chemical Brothers have never been shy when it comes to delivering incredible live performances. For decades, show directors Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall have pushed the boundaries of the electronic duo’s stage shows. Combining the powerful elements of creativity and science, the two have created mind-bending sensory delights to excite your neurons and ignite euphoria.

Immersive experiences

Riding the wave of endorphins and making your way back into the festival, you’ll find that the appearance of event spectacles are changing. Escaping the everyday and diving into a new field of reality is being accelerated into the festival life. Following an extraordinary stage show, apps and supporting technologies are leading the way with immersive experiences for attendees.

Cochellaverse 2022 filters and AR app

A new meaning for immersive festival experience is here. This year’s Coachella launched their very own digital realm with the Coachallaverse. Through unique tools enabled by technology, creativity and adventure has been unleashed. From branded Instagram filters to finding your way, the Coachellaversrse festival app offers immersive AR experiences created in partnership with Niantic. If your festival experience wasn’t exciting enough, AR now offers new and inventive virtual adventures and digital art to explore.

Supporting technology

Discovering AR installations and sharing your filtered snaps is fun but without the right supporting technology, your smartphone might as well be a brick. Let’s face it, the majority of festivals tend to be in the middle of nowhere and staying connected has its challenges. However, this issue is soon becoming a thing of the past with many festival sites now providing comprehensive Wi-Fi services. In addition, events are rapidly moving towards 5G networks.

EE newsroom graphic: the first 5G network at a music festival at Glastonbury  

5G offers improved speed, connectivity and latency, enabling technology such as AR and VR to perform. These networks also provide better traffic capacity and efficiency, so thousands of people shouldn’t affect your ability to post to TikTok. From an operations perspective to experience-enhancing capabilities, attendees now have more accessibility to utilise festival tech, as well as their smart devices - should they wish to.

Live streaming

The arrival of 5G networks on festival sites also offers plenty of other opportunities. Today some of the most popular festivals in the world sell out in minutes. The 2022 Glastonbury resale sold out in under 20 minutes, whilst tickets for the return of the Secret Garden Party vanished in record time. Bad news for many festival-goers but what if missing out on tickets no longer meant missing out completely?

The future of delivering high-resolution media livestreams is now a reality. There’s no need to miss one second of your favourite artist with powerful 5G capabilities. You can even enjoy your much-anticipated sets from the comfort of your own home in your pants.

5G-powered festivals

Here at the FuseBox we recently explored the powerful capabilities of 5G and launched the 5G Festival with Alternative Stages. Powered by Wired Sussex and in partnership with Brighton Dome and the Digital Catapult, the panel of events engaged with regional music businesses including labels, artists and studios to support their application of 5G and other emerging technologies to develop new creative and commercial opportunities. This exciting fusion of creativity and technology offered more accessibility for music lovers, organisers and creatives for both in-person and virtual events. The Alternative Stages event, as part of the 5G Festival at Brighton Dome, showcased local grassroot acts such as AFLO the poet and Priss Nash, performing within virtual local venues such as Green Door Store and St Georges Church. Wired Sussex worked closely with local promoters such as Melting Vinyl and Platform B to deliver an exciting new way for audiences to interact at a virtual gig via Mozilla hubs.  

5G Festival with Alternative Stages using VR

Functional and fun

If you are lucky enough to purchase a ticket to your favourite live event in person, you may find that paper tickets are on their way out. Electronic ticketing using QR codes is swiftly becoming the norm for festivals.

Perhaps one of the more forward-thinking digital concepts is the use of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) as e-tickets. As well as the prevention of lost tickets and more efficient entry processes, NFT tickets provide a new digital memento - perfect for those who wish to hold on to tickets similar to something physical.

Contactless payments are also joining the party, making potentially the biggest change in 2022 and probably the most practical. An incredibly creative use of tech for festival purchases has to be the introduction of radio-frequency identification (RFID) wristbands.

Tomorrowland festival RFID wristband

Tomorrowland has taken RFID wristbands to the next level with their very own currency “pearls”. Specifically designed for the event, this e-currency allows attendees to load money onto their wristbands and make purchases with a simple tap of the wrist, creating a more immersive and efficient experience.

Aside from spending your pearls at Tomorrowland, RFID wristbands also present a variety of other interactive experiences such as access to exclusive content, secret sets and VIP sections, if you’re allowed in.

Whether you’re heading to a festival this summer or planning on live-streaming a gig, it’s fair to say festival technology has come a long way in recent years. There is now a huge variety of ways to enhance and enjoy your experience, plus plenty of opportunities to be part of something new.

We love a festival here at the FuseBox and if you’re working on something in the digital space or are interested in hearing more, contact us today, or book in for a tour.


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