Early EDC-ers like myself will recall a smartphone-free party. But 19 years of sociotechnological advancement and quadrupled attendance require Insomniac to carefully formulate how participants can stay connected. According to Betty Tran, the executive vice president of marketing and media for EDC producer Insomniac, it’s a twofold strategy: onsite and online experiences.
Perhaps the most relevant onsite consideration this year is Wi-Fi connectivity. Venue-wide service remains a challenge—as last year’s unsuccessful Snapchat partnership proved—as does reliable phone reception. But Wi-Fi hotspots in less-concentrated areas like chill zones will better allow attendees to use their phones. “One thing we won’t provide is hotspots at [high-capacity] areas like the main stage,” Tran says. “It’ll take away from the magic of the show. We want fans to enjoy that performance.”
Also new and strategically placed throughout the Speedway are iBeacons, location-based transmitters that relay data Insomniac can use to adjust operations and/or update festivalgoers via various communication platforms—linking the onsite to the online. It can now better monitor when traffic backs up enough to warrant an attendee alert or when wait times for will call get too long. “Once it gets to 25 minutes, I can see it on the dashboard and then deploy a team to get the fans in faster,” Tran says.
As for the online side, the EDC app will expand its capabilities beyond the usual performer schedules and maps; it will now invite users to post reviews of the 20-some rides and register their wristbands, which will incorporate RFID technology (though not for cashless purchasing à la Rock in Rio).
Furthermore, Insomniac is specifically tailoring each of its social-media channels outside of prioritized cross-platform content. While its Instagram account will feature a general curation of photos and footage, its Snapchat feed will hone in on behind-the-scenes footage. Its Facebook page will feature photo albums and relayed messages, but it will use Twitter to reply to fan questions and incorporate the increasingly popular Periscope live-streaming. And speaking of the latter, new partner Yahoo will eschew the standard live-streaming of full festival sets for stitched-together glimpses of the eight stages and everywhere else—another bridging of the onsite to the online for an increasingly tech-savvy EDC. “We’re trying to give those at home a taste of what it’s like to be [at the festival],” Tran says.