On this week’s podcast, our host, James Dickson is joined by two guests from separate companies working collaboratively to organise Bournemouth 7s Festival. Craig Mathie, from Bournemouth 7s and Steve Jones, from FesTech, describe the practical uses of technology at events.
Launched in 2008, Bournemouth 7s is an annual sport and music festival that welcomes 30,000 guests and hosts five different sports – rugby, netball, dodgeball, hockey and volleyball. The 400 sports teams, combined with live music and camping, creates one of the biggest festivals of its kind in the UK.
Describing the journey of planning the event to the clean-up afterwards, Craig and Steve depict how they implement technology that ensures a smooth, safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved, from the guests to the sports teams to the organisers themselves.
Introducing himself as the MD of the “technical side”, Steve explains that FesTech is brought on each year to run the design and implementation of the technology used at the event. From the health and safety aspect to the delivery of the actual event, technology is relied upon to ensure every facet of the event runs without glitches. This technology includes CCTV, till systems for the bars, contactless pay and visitor tracking.
“We take these practical uses of technology as ways to improve the event” Craig explains. Using the scoring system as an example of this, he describes how the festival evolved from using whiteboards to introducing an app that not only saves the scores from the games, but also allows for audience engagement and updates on the teams.
Craig also delves into the pros and cons of the festival being independently-owned, relating that they consciously try to use cost-effective solutions that are practical. Going further with this, Steve describes how he implements technology that is relevant: “If I don’t think something is going to work, I don’t use it, or I adapt it until it does.”