After Allen Cook’s appearance on two panel discussion at the 2014 International Music Festival Conference ( IMFCON ), Kim Owens, contributing writer for Festival Insights Magazine and editor of Kaffeine Buzz, sat down with Cook to discuss The State of Festival Connectivity – Past, Present and Future.
Below is an excerpt of that interview. To read the full article click here.
When TOURTech launched its IT company during the 2008/2009 festival season, back-of-house Internet access was considered ‘nice to have.’ “If it went down, nobody cared that much,” said founder Al Cook.
As the festival worlds become more connected, IT has become mission critical. Cook elaborated, “When your festival is riding on a cashless payment system that may or may not need to connect to the Internet, but certainly to a server on-site or to each other, the requirement to have a local area network is really dominating the festival design these days.”
Last year TOURTech serviced 25 festivals and 45 one-off events. While the demand for festival IT has grown, each deployment has expanded year-over-year. One of their clients, C3 Presents, drastically increased the number of network drops for Austin City Limits (ACL) festival, from 100 in 2013 to over 240 in 2014.
“What gets harder is the demand,” said David Fordyce, IT Manager for C3. “Last year we started doing cashless at all our festivals.” This required drops at all the cashless payment access points and top-up stations where attendees added money to their RFID wristbands.
At another C3 festival, Lollapalooza, cashless added to the myriad of other connectivity requirements, from production, stages and sponsor areas, to merch stands, security, artist and media tents.
The Lollapalooza Map: Al Cook (Left), Paulo Joaquim (Centre), and David Fordyce from C3 Presents.
Founded in 2004 as an IT company for concert tours, TOURtech has grown to provide a full spectrum of managed IT services for corporate, sporting and entertainment events throughout the U.S. and Canada. Some notable clients and events include: Amazon, Nike, Beyoncé, Madonna, Coachella Music Festival, Lollapalooza, NFL and Austin Rodeo.