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The Future Of Festivals — How Technology Can Enhance and Transform Large Events

In this article we're going to take a look at how Web3 technology might enhance the experience for festival-goers in the future.

Charlie Gardener
Charlie Gardener
June 14, 2022
min read
Festival crowdFestival crowd

An NFT event ticketing marketplace helping artists foster closer connections with fans, eliminating fraud and reducing the impact of scalping.

This weekend saw the return of the Glastonbury festival, with around 200,000 people pitching up to experience some of the biggest names in music performed in the iconic farm setting.

With festival season well underway in the UK, now is a great time to think about how Web3 technology might augment and enhance the experience for festival-goers in future years.

Web3 — A (Very) Brief Introduction

Web3 is a catch-all term for various technologies that will change how we interact with digital platforms moving forward. Underpinned by distributed networks known as blockchains, there are several ways that this emerging technology has the power to change many industries, from supply chain management and healthcare records to live events and ticketing.

Event Ticketing

Keeping our focus on festivals, let’s explore how blockchain networks will improve the festival experience, even as early in the process as buying tickets.

Festivals are a big business globally, which means the more famous among them almost always sell out within minutes of going on sale. Anxious fans sit in groups, each person hitting refresh when ticket sales go live in the hope that one of them gets past the scalping bots and manages to buy tickets for themselves and their friends.

Of course, it’s great that festivals have this level of popularity. Still, this popularity means the events are plagued by scalpers and touts who snap up tickets to resell to those who missed out at the box office. Unfortunately, the practise is so commonplace that current advice to event organisers is to just accept it!

This is where Web3 steps in to help.

Issuing tickets as NFTs would have a two-fold effect on the box office experience. Firstly, blockchain-based NFTs are digital assets with guaranteed authenticity. This would mean fans can be sure they are purchasing legitimate tickets only. Secondly, NFT tickets can be issued with programmable features like price ceilings and royalty splits, which can lessen the ability of scalpers to profit.

Using NFT tickets could present a huge shift in the ticket buying process for fans. No longer would they have to harbour concerns about whether their ticket is legitimate, and neither would it be necessary to battle scalping bots.

Web3 Offerings

The live event is only just getting started at the box office. Of course, the event itself is where the real experience happens.

For decades the live event experience has improved as technology has evolved, with more powerful and accurate sound systems and improved visuals year on year as par for the course. Slowly though, newer technologies are creeping into the live events space, as event organisers and creators look to put on more immersive shows than ever before.

This year has already seen several artists and prominent events utilise NFTs as a way of increasing engagement for fans. One of the biggest festivals in the world, Coachella, produced NFTs for their attendees this year, as did one of the biggest sports shows this year; the NFL Super Bowl.

NFT Assets

As demonstrated by Coachella, NFTs don’t have to be just cartoon apes or still digital images. The organisation used NFTs as a way of giving fans lifetime passes, photo books, art prints and other digital collectables. For fans to gain items of tangible value from their support of the artist gives a feeling of a deeper connection between the two, which, after all, is the reason people go to see their favourite performers.

Yet these are early days for the technology of Web3. We can be sure that there will be ever more creative ways of using NFTs, with events like Coachella being seen as pioneers that provide a proof-of-concept foundation for other events to build on.

Moving forward, we can expect to see artists and events creating limited-edition NFT collectables for their fans and NFTs that can be used as utility tokens or simply social status items. Proof of attendance NFTs, non-transferable access passes that can be earned through interactive experiences, and discount vouchers for loyal fans are just some of the ways we can expect to see NFTs being used in the coming years.

With the technology required to airdrop these digital assets to fans and festival goers becoming more accessible by the day, we will certainly see an increase in how they are used and the creativity with which they are deployed.

Enhanced Experiences

Bigger and better is almost always the name of the game for recurring live events, and festivals are no exception. Each year organisers look to create captivating moments for their ticket holders using more creative ways to do so.

The hunger for more intense event experiences has resulted in the increasing use of digital technologies to augment live shows. There are already plenty of creative ways in which technology is being used to meet the consumer demand for immersive experiences, but it is the technologies associated with Web3 that stand to have the biggest impact.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are often associated with the Metaverse, but there has already been a merger of these technologies with the live events sector in the form of virtual concerts and augmented reality events, giving a more immersive experience for those in attendance.

The Future Of Festivals

Web3 is transforming engagement and entertainment across many different sectors and mediums. However, these uses have been in isolation from one another, often deployed as early pioneering attempts to explore the ways that Web3 can change event experiences.

Festivals are a merger of different styles of live events, with many featuring art installations and interactive experiences alongside the music performances. In this sense, festivals are one sector of the live entertainment industry that could see a huge transformation with the incorporation of Web3 tech.

Looking at the future, blockchain technology could provide each festival attendee with a digital wallet that stores not only their NFT ticket but also their money in the form of cryptocurrency. Fans could use their phone to scan interactive experiences on-site, which could airdrop them unique access passes to secret areas of a festival, where immersive VR experiences await them. Alternatively, festival-goers could earn Proof of Attendance badges for discovering certain areas or installations on-site. There’s much to be explored.

Putting It All Together

It’s still very much the early days of Web3 technology and blockchain. Yet, it has seen success in driving engagement and increasing immersion for several different live entertainment mediums.

We will increasingly likely see technology used to augment live event experiences for fans as standard. However, the way in which the technology might be used is only just being explored.

We’re building SeatlabNFT to give artists and event organisers an NFT ticketing platform that can help them create the next step in the evolution of live entertainment. You can see how our NFT ticketing solution allows for more immersive experiences here or read about why NFT ticketing is better for fans here.

Our full vision for the next generation of event ticketing can be read in our litepaper here, or follow us via the links below to be the first to hear about our redefining of the event ticketing industry.

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