The Power of iBeacon for Festivals

iBeacon for festivals offers a significant opportunity for festival administrators to interact and connect with their visitors in profound new ways.

Imagine arriving at your favorite music festival, smartphone in hand.  As you approach the entrance gate, your festival ticket is automatically displayed on your mobile lock screen ready for scanning.  As you enter, your festival app notifies you your friend Bill has already arrived, and shows you all other Facebook friends also in attendance with the option to message and interact with them.  As you pass the merchandise stand, you receive a personalized offer to purchase discounted memorabilia with a direct link to pay and the option to pick it up at the end of the day.  As you finish your quick purchase, your app notifies you that one of your favorited bands is about to play on stage 2 with easy walking directions.  As you approach the stage, your app prompts you with access to an exclusive back-stage interview video filmed just minutes before as you wait.  They take the stage, and as the show progresses you can view their set-list updated in real time so you always know what song is playing.  As the band comes to a close, you decide you should grab a bite to eat before they next performance.  In app you view a map of all the dining options and where they are located.  Heat mapping reveals Joe’s BBQ food truck is a bit busy, so you opt for Sally’s sandwiches instead, placing and paying for your order in just a few touches in app.  By the time you arrive at Sally’s your order is already ready to go at the to-go window, allowing you to bypass the growing order lines. It’s now time for a few more shows, so you notate all the shows you want to catch in app so you don’t miss a minute.  As the day winds down, you receive a reminder not to forget you limited edition poster waiting at the merch stand on the way out, and the option to order an Uber ride for the journey back to your hotel.

The above scenario is just one small example of the remarkable potentialities presented by the use ofiBeacon technology for festivals.  By discretely placing Bluetooth proximity beacons in strategic locations throughout festival grounds, such as at stages, vendors, and other points of interest, festival administrators have the ability to not only help their visitors better navigate what the festival has to offer, but provides a ground-breaking opportunity to interact with festival-goers like never before.  Using beacons, administrators can deliver meaningful relevant content in just the right moments based on their location, providing for truly memorable festival experiences.  It is just this type of scenario that his prompted a great many world-renowned festivals to roll-out the technology in the last several months, marking some of the greatest iBeacon implementations to date.  Below I will outline just a few.


In addition to sending out strategic location based push notifications for event information, such as current screenings etc., the prestigious Cannes festival opted to also use iBeacon technology at this year’s event in order to allow attendees to network with one another in real time based on their location.  The new ‘around me’ feature of their mobile app integrated with LinkedIn profiles, allowing visitors to discover valuable information about other attendees around them and the opportunity to send messages and connect directly through the app.

cannes ibeacon app


This year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival used the technology in a number of ways, largely focusing on getting attendees more involved in sessions they were attending. Visitors present at any given session were given the ability to interact with fellow audience members in real-time by ‘Joining the Conversation’ as they entered.  Users could interact, message one another, network, and contribute to live audience polls. Coachella music festival used beacons placed around the grounds to allow users to be notified of set times, current acts, provide navigation to points of interest, and receive access to exclusive event content only available when present.



Tribeca film festival opted in to use the technology to streamline their visitor experience with information on nearby venues, screenings, and offers to purchase screening tickets directly in app.  Their implementation was strategic in that notifications were disabled any time visitors set foot into a screening room, enabling them again as soon as a session ended allowing users the opportunity to participate in immediate feedback as they made their exits.

tribeca ibeacon

The deployments above are just a few examples of recent festival executions, each providing a unique feature set most relevant to their event type.  With such a broad spectrum of use cases, it’s really up to festival management and developers to decide the specifics of their unique implementations and the sky really is the limit.  Our own iBeacon Platform, Apsima, was recently utilized for a music festival in the Netherlands, with great success.  Visitors with the festival app installed and Bluetooth enabled on their smartphones benefited from location based notifications alerting them of upcoming performances nearby, food options, and more.

Below we offer a glimpse into app engagement achieved by our partner through the use of Apsima’s proximity aware technology.