It’s summer festival season! Here are the gadgets and apps to make your fest experience more fun

From smart entry bracelets to virtual reality to GPS apps, this year’s festival season will be more convenient than ever
It’s summer festival season! Here are the gadgets and apps to make your fest experience more fun

This summer will be the most tech-enabled music festival season yet. In addition to innovations on the stage, new tech has the ability to make your ride to the show smoother, your schedule impeccably organized and your friends in constant contact. Use these gadgets and apps to enhance and streamline your summer festival experience.

Getting there–without the hassle

Getting to and from a festival can be one of the most aggravating parts of the whole experience. You have to figure out where to park, leave your car in some uncovered field and then wait for 8,000 people to drive out before you do. For those up for carpooling who don’t want to commit to a bus, there are numerous free carpooling apps such as Scoop and PoolMyRide to arrange trips to specific shows.

And for those who don’t mind timing their trip to a bus schedule, Sharethebus has teamed with several festivals this summer such as Sonic Bloom, Country Jam USA, Amnesia Rockfest and more to transport music fans in and out of the show.

Those paper bracelets have gotten smart

Most music fans only think about their wristbands when they have to pull them off, but those entry bracelets can now do a lot more. Fests like Tomorrowland and Bonnaroo have already used bracelets equipped with Radio Field Identification (RFID) for tickets and onsite purchases. Sendrato has a product for festivals that not only allows users to gain entry and interact with smart onsite activations (booths, etc.), but the information creates a heat map displaying crowd density that can be used to monitor potentially claustrophobic situations.

Finding yourself and your friends

When you’re at a huge festival, getting turned around and being unable to find home base is bound to happen at least once. Festival Buddy enables the user to drop a marker on a map for a reminder about where his or her campground, car or favorite taco stand is. Glympse and Family Locator are free apps that allow users to send friends their location via GPS. And try Wunderlist to create your own set list so you don’t miss your top performers.

Capture the action

Festival footage is becoming more integrated and immersive. Coachella, for example, sent every attendee a virtual reality headset along with their ticket, and also streamed much of the event in VR-appropriate format. YouVisit previews some festivals in virtual reality to give potential concertgoers a taste of the show.

Several new apps allow you to record and find immersive festival video. Splash turns an iPhone into a 360-degree camera, splicing together several videos into footage that can be played back with or without a virtual reality viewer. For finding VR festival videos, the free VR YouTube 3D app serves up clips shot in virtual reality. And for finding video shot near you, Centric is a new free app that curates videos from various platforms (including Facebook and Instagram) based on location. So, for example, you can tell the app to uncover videos from the festival you're attending.

Survival necessities

If you’re camping out or just spending a long day in a field, there are a few necessities to make things a little easier. The Brunton Lightwave Amp ($200) is a camping lantern that can be charged with a USB power source and uses Bluetooth to sync its flashing lights with music played on your computer. To keep track of your phone’s power, the free Battery Doctor not only shows how much juice is left on your phone, but also diagnoses the apps that may be draining electricity. And the EasyAcc Solar Bank is a solar-powered phone charger and flashlight.

With all these new innovations, your next music festival could be almost as comfortable as watching live music in your own backyard.