The Future of Festivals: Predictions for 2020

December 16, 2019

The last 10 years have seen a rise in innovative event technology that has made festivals a more efficient, seamless experience for both organizers and attendees. But what will the future hold? As we close out the decade, our event experts look ahead and share their festival predictions for the coming year. 

Wearable RFID Technology 

RFID has been around for a while now, but it is only recently that the true potential of this technology has been leveraged to create a streamlined festival experience. Companies like Token are leading the way with wearable RFID technology allowing for ticketless entry, a fully cashless purchase experience, and enhanced engagement opportunities. For attendees, this is completely changing the game — no more reaching for wallets, waiting in queues, or worrying about theft! 

RFID technology also has many benefits for festival organizers. It can help prevent fraud, regulate access control, and perhaps most importantly, give organizers access to data they’ve never had before, like full on-site purchase data and attendee tracking throughout their event site. In a world driven by numbers, these insights are invaluable when it comes to planning future events. Looking ahead, it’s sure to become a mainstream technology staple at every festival. 

Mobile Apps as Engagement Tools 

As branded mobile apps have become more commonplace in the live event industry, we are seeing them transition from just being resources for event information to robust audience engagement platforms! Mobile app solution, Greencopper, has disrupted the industry by offering just that. For example, rather than simply having the ability to view festival details, attendees can now build out their own individualized schedules by “favoriting” specific artists, speakers, or vendors. In-app mobile ordering has also burst onto the scene, enabling festival-goers to pre-purchase concessions, eliminating any time spent waiting in line.

But perhaps, one of the best ways mobile apps will be used in the future is as a means for sponsors to engage with attendees. Beyond simple “sponsored by” ad banners, mobile apps offer the opportunity for creative sponsor activations through features like targeted push notifications and interactive on-site photo hunts. In 2020, we’ll continue to see this evolution of branded mobile apps as a means of personalization and fan engagement. 

Experiential Tech 

As audience demand for more unique experiences continues to grow, gamification, augmented reality, and experiential marketing activations will become more mainstream in 2020. Festival audiences no longer see these kinds of experiences as a fun bonus — they expect them. With technology platforms like Thuzi, you can tailor unique experiences for festival-goers like offering games where they can gain “reward points” as they move through your festival, unlocking prizes and exclusive content. You can even make your sitemap come to life with AR wayfinding, helping attendees locate the nearest stage, food, restrooms, and sponsor booths. These experiences are often the things that attendees talk about most once they leave an event. In the coming year, they will be integral to the success of any festival. 

Eco-Friendly Festivals 

Sustainability isn’t just a plus anymore. In 2020, expect it to take center stage even more so with consumers starting to make decisions about whether or not to attend a festival based on ecological brand initiatives alone. Some festivals have taken to eschewing the use of diesel generators in favor of renewable energy sources. Others have banned disposable plastic water bottles, relying instead on festival-goers bringing their own reusable containers. If you’re looking for ways to make your festival more eco-friendly, it all starts on day one down to the tools you are using to plan your festival. With festival operations software like Marcato, you can use concrete data to ensure you are ordering only the exact number of assets and food you need to put on your festival, lessening your overall impact. In the future, this is going to matter more, so start making changes today! 

The Future Is Bright 

From the rise of RFID-enabled fully cashless experiences to ensuring that festivals are as sustainable as possible, 2020 is sure to be a year that is set to change the festival landscape for another decade to come. Embrace all of the new opportunities that festival organizers have to make their events even better — we will see you next year!

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