A new generation of festival wristbands

If you visit a concert or festival, chances are that you will be wearing textile wristbands for access control and that you will be using paper tickets and cash money to buy drinks. In other words: although the artists are working with the latest high-tech equipment, concertgoers cannot yet enjoy the benefits of a high-tech festival experience for access control, social interaction and so on.

But change is on its way. During the 2014 edition of Tomorrowland – a pioneering event in terms of innovating the festival experience – “smart wristbands” were used to ensure smooth access control, enabled by combining short range RFID with long range wireless. In addition, the tracking and LED features enabled, at the same time, enhanced security and massive visitor engagement during an impressive light show. And much more is to come: by integrating wearables, wireless network technology, data analysis, mobile applications, sensors, etc. a real revolution for festivalgoers and organisers can be realised.

2015 - 2016

6 industry partners

2.9M Euro

3 research groups

Robust wireless connectivity

A stable network needs to be configured in a short amount of time, for a large amount of users, on a location with no or few network facilities. In addition, a festival or concert is the worst thinkable scene in terms of keeping wireless networks up and running: there is constant interference by people using their smartphone, the metal structure of the stages and the use of non-traditional wireless devices to control for example sound and fireworks.

A richer festival experience

Accurate localisation is one of the most important contextual parameters to trigger real-time recommendations (at the right time and place) based on the guest's own interactions at the festival and the context of that moment for example a concert that is playing, weather, time of day).  Several localisation techniques differing in accuracy, scalability and required hardware at the user side have been developed.

Combining real-time data

The central data platform should be able to consume different types of data in real time and make the necessary real-time interpretations. 
Multiple identification methods like tickets, social media accounts, etc. are combined into one guest ID, which can be used at the festival. This ID can be enriched in real time with other kinds of data (e.g. localisation data), allowing the event organisation to learn about their guest's behaviour.

The project outcomes

The iFEST consortium developed a new generation of festival wristbands and combined these with built-in communication capabilities, sensors and a software platform for data analysis to ensure a richer festival experience.


iFest leaflet


Image gallery

iFest press release