[EVENT RECAP] Where Do Festivals Go To Come Up With The Next Big Idea?

[EVENT RECAP] Where Do Festivals Go To Come Up With The Next Big Idea?

[EVENT RECAP] Where Do Festivals Go To Come Up With The Next Big Idea?


XLIVE is like summer camp for all the live event producers of the world, except it’s held in the middle of winter… in Vegas.

The conference looks to transform the way festivals and live events share expertise, learn and revolutionize experience. And all this is aimed at making a better live product for you – the festival participant. XLIVE, formerly the International Music Festival Conference (IMFCON) and International Film Festival Summit (IFFS), brings together industry leaders at the intersection of music, film, culinary, beverage, eSports, technology and the experiences that culminate at festivals and live events. Driven by a passion to provide unique, memorable, and life changing experiences, the leaders present at XLIVE represent a dynamic and influential community from around the world looking to share, learn, and explore the latest trends and a vision for the industry’s future.


Here are a couple of the biggest talking points at XLIVE this year, and what it means for your festivaling in the future:

VR/AR & Experiential, Immersive Experiences

Yes, that’s a lot of buzz words strung together. Everyone is talking about how events can be augmented and enhanced with immersive experiences such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and all the tech that comes along with it. The big question: Will VR replace the need to attend festivals in person? The short answer is no, but it will allow people who may not be able to afford a full festival ticket to experience a fully immersive, digital experience from the comfort of their couch. Expect immersive live streaming, 360 live streaming, and VR/AR content to explode on the festival scene in the coming years.


More Targeted Ads From Brands & Festivals

‘Cause you’re a vegan, and you definitely don’t care to have that hot dog cart’s specials sent your way. Or perhaps you just love hip hop and only want to know when your genre’s artists are up to perform. With the current pace of technology, especially surrounding the computer in your pants (i.e. your cell phone), expect brands to become much smarter when it comes to serving you your push notifications and targeted ads. With tech like big data, geofencing, RFID, check-ins, and beacons, if you posted your love of craft beer to your Facebook profile last week, you can make a safe bet on getting a push notification about that Three Floyd’s pop-up around the corner next time you’re at SXSW.

eSports Is Big Business

Did you know that Deloitte predicts eSports will generate global revenues of $500 million in 2016 and will likely have an audience of regular and occasional viewers of close to 150 million people? (And that’s already up 25 percent from 2015). Yes, eSports is going to be f*cking huge – and not just because Americans are better at playing football through their XBox. Today, a major eSports event may attract 40,000 people watching live, and tens of millions watching over the Web. What does this mean for music festivals? Well, maybe not as much right away. But as festivals become more and more immersive and experiential, and as the money continues to pour into eSports, I’m betting we will begin to see a number of cross-platform activations popping up all over the landscape. After all, have you seen drone racing yet? (And could you imagine a finals at EDC?)

Security That Doesn’t Suck

It’s the lamest part of any festival to go through, but it’s arguably one of the most important when done correctly. How many times have you been in a situation where you need to figure something important out right away only to have three different security guards telling you three different things? How about those awfully mandatory bag and person checks at the gate? Maybe you’ve even seen bomb dogs on-site? Last year, UK fest, Glastonbury, made headline news over the issue and no matter how you slice it, security is a necessary part of any large event given the current state of affairs around the globe. It’s not anything that’s super exciting to talk about, but you can bet festival organizer’s are looking at ways to communicate information to fest attendee’s better, create better flows of traffic, and integrating new surveillance tech (drones, facial recognition, tracking) into the festival atmosphere. Security doesn’t sit on the forefront of festival chatter among participants, but when done right, there is a major difference in how your experience feels.

Of course, there are tons of other things happening in the festival space right now. It’s an exciting time to be able to come together and celebrate as human beings, and we are now just seeing the beginning of what it looks like to truly be a community of festival goers.

Our friends over at Optimystic Media put together the video below to give you more insight into the who, what, and where at XLIVE – check it out!

Produced by: [Optimystic Media] Wesley Pinkham, Megan Stone & Brett Bollier
Footage by: Andrew Burger, Brett Bollier, Megan Stone & Nisha Burton
Edited by: Brett Bollier & Megan Stone

Photos by: Edward Clynes & Aaron Garcia


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Kris Hi there! Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sights and Sounds. Been doing this music writing thing for most my life in one way or another and loving every opportunity it's brought along. Shoot me an email if you have any suggestions for the website, comments, or if you just want to chat. Cheers!