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New Concert Experience

I’ve visited a lot of concerts worldwide, from local shows in small venues to large 3-days metal open-airs. As an engineer I am always interested in technical solutions and organizational nuances of such shows. Some things are quite interesting, but there were not big innovations since the invention of electronic tickets. Until yesterday. Well, at least it was the first such show for me.

Beer is the most popular thing in Czech, obviously. They drink it a lot, not only on concerts. What can be improved in such a simple and casual thing as drinking beer on a concert? Usually at outdoor concerts you buy a beer in a disposable cup (it is not always the case for indoor events). Here we had to buy plastic cups with AC/DC logo (3 different prints were available) for 60 CZK. They were thicker than regular disposable cup and could definitely last longer than couple of beers. Once you have a cup you can fill and refill it many times for 50 CZK for each beer. Normally there are large garbage bins around a field for disposable cups and other trash, and those bins get filled pretty quickly, because true metalheads drink a lot. Here there was a little bit of litter. People carefully kept cups in hands and refilled them several times. After the show those cups were taken home as souvenirs. Less litter, more souvenirs, more joy, profit!

This is not the end. The whole concert was declared as cashless. Every beer or food could be sold only with special RFID cards. Those cards represented a virtual wallet with cashless credits. One could either buy a card right before the show or register online in advance and link a card to the e-ticket and get it at entrance zone. I registered online, topped up some money from my credit card and linked my ticket. All unspent cashless credits were refunded after the event automatically to my credit card. Buying a beer or food with RFID card is extremely easy and fast, no ATMs, no change, no worries. This service was provided by Intellitix and according to thier website there are also other interesting RFID things for events such as staff management and access control.

Bonus

When I mentioned innovations on concerts I remembered one more interesting thing: Metallica by Request. When I bought a ticket (for Sonisphere UK 2014) I got a unique code along with it. This code was to be used for signing up on a special website. Everyone could vote for songs they want Metallica to perform live. Top 16 were selected for the set list, additional one was selected by SMS voting right before the show, and new song Lords of Summer was always played on these shows no matter what. The result was quite interesting. There were no songs from Death Magnetic album at all. Apparently people love Whiskey in the Jar, but Metallica had rarely played it live before, so now it is included to almost every set list.

Bottom line

Everything can be improved. Even such regular and simple things as buying and drinking beer. And as you can see some of these innovations connect software and internet with offline. So maybe as a software engineer you will start a startup and completely change the way music fests and other events are conducted. Who knows;)

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