Creating a week-long celebration of “love, life and togetherness” for 60,000 enthused concertgoers — “old and young, CEOs and students, hippies n’ yuppies and
everything in between” — is no small feat. Festival organizing involves more than booking bands and staging performances. Every logistical challenge posed by
the management of a small city — transportation services and traffic management, food and beverage provision, sanitation, lodging and accommodations,
communications, security and emergency services, sales and supply chain — must be addressed on site, in real time.
Little did Smukfest founders imagine their modest event in the woods would become an international entertainment venue the size of a small city. As the
festival grew, organizers faced increasingly more complex logistical challenges. About a decade ago, Smukfest began implementing a few
electronic enhancements to improve festival operations. Web support for lodging helped organizers streamline attendee accommodations; later, the festival
added near field communication (NFC) chip bracelets and bartender robots to its digital lineup.
With these and other additions over the years, the festival amassed vast volumes and variety of data about its operations, and especially about attendee
behavior. Organizers recognized the key to better festival management lay in uncovering insights buried in vast troves of data generated by participants
themselves. These challenges and solutions formed two sides of the same coin: Smukfest planners knew that analyzing this data could simultaneously transform
operations and the fan experience.
Though a smooth-running festival requires muscle, sweat and elbow grease, the fuel that powers this engine of free-spirited togetherness is data, and plenty