I was so excited to be going to Glastonbury for the first time ever this year, but having started a new job a few months ago I hadn’t had any time to think about it, at all. I didn’t even know what bands were playing, except Coldplay and Beyonce of course which the whole world knew about.
The night before the big day arrived (and I was trying to pack) but I wanted to check out all the action – so I decided to see if there was an app to help. I was in luck and found the official Glasto2011 app developed by Orange in association with The Guardian.
The app had a few precise functions, Map, Schedule/My Planner and News.
The Schedule/My Planner function
I had a browse at the line up in the schedule, which was handily organised by stage area, and also had an alphabetical search function to find your favourite bands. I added a number of acts to My Planner – a personalised schedule based on your chosen acts. My Planner was a great tool, it showed me which stages I was going to attempt to get to each day and clearly showed the clashes between acts, which is always an issue at these types of festivals. Big tick!
One improvement on this functionality would be the potential to ‘go back’ to where you were looking in the schedule. Once you added something to My Planner you had to go back to the main schedule menu and re trace your steps to where you were browsing. Annoying!
To make the function even more useful I would have liked to have more information on the acts available. Click on an act and then choose to bring up more info on what type of act they are and a bit of info about them. For the smaller stages and alternative acts in Cabaret and Circus areas for example, this would have been really useful. Imagine linking this with the potential to sample or buy the music – that would have been interesting.
After a really early wake up call on the Wednesday morning, and a road trip in the rain, we arrived at Glasto!!!! I proudly got out my Glasto app to look at the map as we were directed into a car park area… but the map didn’t show the car parks so we had no idea which pedestrian gate we would be coming in at. Oh dear. Communicating with the rest of our Glasto group to decide where to camp would have to wait, and unfortunately the other half of my group pitched near their car park, on the other side of the festival to where we parked, nightmare!
There could have been a bit more thought put into the map, in particular when looking at the acts on the map. You could click on an act and choose to see where it is on the map. However a big arrow doesn’t show up, it just zooms in a bit on the area – not particularly clear.
The map had some really useful attributes, for instance its location services. It could show you exactly where you were which was really good and helped route planning. This was particularly useful as the mud made walking particularly challenging.
Something that would have been really useful would be the ability to put a marker on the map where your tent was, all the camping areas looked pretty much the same and after a few beverages it could have been a little tricky for some to remember where they needed to go to get ‘home’.
The news function was interesting but I have to admit I didn’t really use it. There were some other quirky ideas on the app, such as ‘I am…’ where everyone could select how they were feeling, and you could then see the map as a ‘mood map’ showing where the buzz was around the festival. Pretty cool but again, I didn’t really use it.
Would I app at Glasto again?
Generally the app was aesthetically really pleasing and in general easy to use. In essence it was a great idea and most of my group had the app on their phones. The issue wasn’t really with the app, but more the platform and convenience. Conserving battery life was a constant challenge, so most of us had location services, 3G, even the phone itself switched off meaning some functionality was lost. Also, the fear of getting your phone out and dropping it in the mud, or worse, was a huge factor for not using the app much during the festival. When it came to it, the app didn’t really add anything new during the festival that you couldn’t get out of traditional print. It was easier to quickly check the extremely efficient booklet hanging round your neck that was really well designed, and in some way it was more in the feel of Glastonbury to ignore personal technology for the week.
I will probably have the app again next time but I may invest in a solar or battery phone charger so I don’t need to worry about battery life and I would also hope for good weather so I’m not so afraid of losing my phone in the mud.
I can’t wait for Glasto 2013 and am really interested to see what changes are made to the app by then!
Did you use the Glasto2011 app or a different one? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below…