Let’s party like it’s 2118

NB Team

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As Nelson Bostock’s resident DJ, (modesty alone prevents from saying *celebrity* DJ), I take my music festivals pretty seriously.

Things have changed somewhat since my first ever festival experience (Reading Fest, 1999). Today, technology takes centre stage almost as much as the music does. What are some of the most exciting uses of technology in festivals today?

Artificial Intelligence

Soon the robots will be making all of our music if The Magenta Project is anything to go by. Perhaps a slight exaggeration. The goal of the project is to use AI tools to supplement human creativity, not replace it. Using neural networks to mathematically blend existing sounds and generate entirely new ones; the project aims to build a bridge from Google’s AI infrastructure to more familiar music-creation tools like Ableton Live and Logic Pro. Hypothetically, this would let songwriters use artificial intelligence to, for example, auto-generate a few options for the melodic structure of the song they’re working on.

Still waiting for info on whether the robots will be able to perform the vocals too.


At Reading Festival 1999, the toilets were set on fire in quite spectacular fashion on the last night. In the future, those miscreants would not get away with such pyromaniacal behaviour, thanks to the use of drones, spotting violence in crowds.

While the technology is still a work in progress, the system uses “human pose estimation” to spot acts of violence and detect the violent individuals in real-time. It does this by processing the drone images in the cloud.


In 1999, Reading Festival, I remember vividly the scores of ticketless festival-goers who winded up wailing at the gates. They discovered that touts had bought up all the tickets and were reselling them for an extortionate price. The latest advances in blockchain technology are going to make this kind of ripoff a thing of the past. Blockchain software will help festivals allocate their tickets directly to a virtual wallet under the buyer’s details, only transferrable to another name if approved by the organiser. This stops supertouts siphoning off tickets before asking fans to pay through the nose for them.

All in all, tech advancements have clearly, (and thankfully) made the music festival experience a completely different world: more creative, safer, more secure. We can’t wait to see what more developments lie in store!