Wot No Flying Cars?

In celebration of the Glastonbury Festival’s 40th Anniversary, Orange has commissioned trend forecasters The Future Laboratory to investigate what the future may hold for festivals across the next 40 years. The Future of Festivals: Glastonbury 2050 report provides an insight into the evolution of technology and communications at festivals between now and 2050.

The report predicts the continuing growth of festival fever in the future and technology’s ability to enhance the festival experience. The report combines extensive research from The Future Laboratory whilst with the insights of a panel of experts including Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis, Jon MacIldowie from MAMA Group, and Time Out editor, Mark Frith. 

The report focuses upon four areas.
Beaming Bodies – Smart technologies within clothes will convey to others how much their friends are enjoying the festival with fabrics changing as music lovers’ pheromones escalate during a band’s set. The report also looks into the feasibility of tattoos which connect festival-goers to the internet, allowing them to share friends’ reactions to the performances. Finally, festival-goers will be able to broadcast their feelings via nanotechnologies within the body, which will capture what they see, hear and smell.

Massive Media Moments – An innovation in the way festivals are broadcast to those enjoying the experience from offsite through a revolutionary semantic web, which allows festival-goers to search for a performance based on their emotions and moods.

As technology evolves, the report says, viewers wants and needs will also change. The TV will no longer be a static box, but a device that can convey a holographic replication of the festival experience, wherever you choose to watch it, so viewers will be surrounded by holograms to make them feel like they are watching the band with everyone else. Personalised playlists will also become the norm, as viewers can remix their own version of the festival to share with friends and other fans.

Supersensorial – An enhanced level of artist interaction with the audience, which will occur by layering the immediacy of the performance with a blend of technologies. The traditional festival flag will become a holographic message board which allows the festival goer to send messages to the artist on stage whilst remaining transparent to fans behind, ensuring they do not block anyone’s view of the stage. This will allow the audience to influence how the performance unfolds, and give the artist the chance to interact with fans in ways which were previously impossible. Fans will be able to influence the artist’s visuals and set list using 3D gestural recognition software and haptic technologies created around new textiles that will allow festival-goers to touch and feel each other, whether watching from either side of the stage or either side of the world. Fans will be able to watch the artists from their own tent as 3D and laser projection technologies improve to provide a new level of intimacy to performances.

Off the grid – As environmental responsibility becomes the epitome of style, festivals will achieve self sustainability by harnessing energy sources, and in turn producing less waste as a result. New forms of renewable energy such as printable solar panels, spray on protocells, which will turn your tent into a miniature garden, harnessing the power of osmosis to produce chemical energy, will all become commonplace at the festival of the future. Festivals will become self sustaining islands, independent of external resource and therefore practicing low-end power consumption. (That’s what it says here, anyway, wonder how many miniature gardens it will take to power all those amps and light shows – Ed).

“The heart of a festival has always been the enjoyment of a shared, live musical experience,” says Paul Jevons, director of products, portals and services at Orange. “However, over the years, festival-goers and music fans have become less bound by geography and the need to actually be physically present to get a true experience. The Future of Festivals: Glastonbury 2050 report gives a great insight into how this might be achieved across the next 40 years.”