One of the biggest music events of the year, Electric Picnic, is kicking off today — and when I say big I mean literally massive — there will be hundreds of performers jostling for attention alongside food tents, yoga classes, comedy acts, cookery demonstrations, kiddies activities, poetry readings — the list goes on and on — but how do you find you way round?
O2 has come up with ElectricNav, a downloadable mobile- phone application that users of all mobile operators can get from today by texting ‘nav’ to 51500. This is free for O2 customers, but users of other mobile operators will have to pay the standard data rate charged by their provider.
ElectricNav basically serves as a guide to the event’s line-up as well as instantly transmitting any important public announcements: “More importantly it will be providing any relevant safety information, weather updates and other real time information,” says Cahill.
There is comprehensive information on the web from the Electric Picnic site, but when you get there will inevitably be some delays, timetable shuffles or even a cancellation, so having real-time updates at your fingertips can ease the confusion.
“A lot of what we hear is that with, so much to do and see at festivals such as Electric Picnic, the challenge is to figure out what’s going on, where to go next and what time your favourite bands are playing at.”
Cahill feels that these kinds of services are indicative of how things have changed. People now have very high expectations and festival promoters in turn have responded by delivering a huge array of choice, but this leads to a need to reach the audience with information updates.
“Now you’re seeing more complex, diverse festivals such as Electric Picnic and Oxegen, where the lists of artists and things to do and see is mind-blowing.
“Mobile technology fits in with the way the festival model has evolved over the past few years. The old model involved large groups of people heading to see one or two bands, the Slane-type model.
“With this, O2 has a great opportunity to help people make the most of the modern festival experience.”
“Ultimately, we developed this to help you get through the weekend. It’s a tool to help you have a better experience of the festival,” says Johnny Cahill, head of communications and sponsorship for O2 Ireland.
For a different kind of music fix on your mobile, you can also head to the Nokia Bluetooth tent where Irish mobile comms firm Mobanode is providing some free mobile phone goodies including a Willy Wonka ringtone (for all handsets) and the Star Wars light saber application (N95 only).
Caption: Nightfall descends on the festival goers at last year’s Electric Picnic. Photo taken by Conor McCabe
By Marie Boran