June 27, 2018
Gig(abytes) for Gigs: Mobile Phones & Music Festivals .
It’s officially summer and music festival season is in full swing. And if you’ve been to see live music recently, you know that means that cellphones and the power of wireless will be on full display.
Thirty-two million people go to at least one U.S. music festival each year—more than the entire population of Texas—and 74 percent of music festivalgoers say their phones will be coming with them. Sixty-five percent ranked their smartphone as the most important item to keep on hand, more than deodorant or debit cards.
The social aspect of music festivals relies heavily on the mobile experience, with many festivalgoers keen to have access to social networks at festivals. For example, at this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Beyonce’s performance, dubbed #Beychella, was mentioned over 2.2 million times on Twitter during Weekend 1 alone.
A 2016 survey found that 30 percent of concertgoers always take pictures and 40 percent always or often record videos, while 98 percent of music festival attendees agreed that good quality camera function is vital for their mobile devices. Last year, AT&T recorded nearly 40 terabytes of data during the Coachella 2017 festival, the equivalent of 113 million selfies
Many festivals encourage attendees to use their mobile device to help manage their weekend, offering apps with maps of the grounds, schedules of the performers, information about food, transportation, and public safety. Lollapalooza organizers encourage attendees to save contact information on their phone’s lock screen in case of an emergency.
Unable to physically attend a music festival? Your mobile device can help with that. Forty-three percent of internet and mobile audiences live-streamed festival content in 2016. For the eighth year in a row, YouTube livestreamed performances at Coachella 2018, supported by T-Mobile. In 2017, nine million online viewers streamed 60 acts on three separate stages. This year, Bonnaroo offered podcasts, daily video recaps, a streaming radio channel, and a Twitter livestream for those who wanted to listen to and discuss the latest from the show stages.
Wireless providers work hard to handle the massive mobile demand of festivals and continually improve the mobile experience of festival goers—for example, AT&T reports boosting their network for about 140 events each year, many of which are big-name music festivals. Over the past six years, AT&T has invested more than $29 million and deployed 430 portable network facilities that provide extra coverage and capacity at concentrated events to service customers at concerts and music festivals nationwide. Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T also rely heavily on small cell antennas to boost network capacity for events like music festivals.
As tens of millions travel and gather to watch their favorite artists this summer, millions of phones will attend too, allowing festivalgoers and music aficionados around the world to experience and share the music they love.