WOMAD Festival Case Study
The World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) festival, which takes place in July each year in over 350 acres of the spacious Charlton Park, has to keep its on-site teams connected to meet the needs of the 40,000 capacity event. Founded in 1982, WOMAD continues to maintain its independence whilst providing its audience with an eclectic mix of international performers. The festival production team manages three main and several smaller stages throughout the event grounds, purposely laid out to provide a feeling of space and breathing room. The festival has been praised for its partnership with international charities including Peter Gabriel’s own WITNESS.
Etherlive began its partnership with WOMAD in 2008 to provide on site internet and communications. Since 2010, Etherlive has also provided all CCTV services. Working with the production and Real World IT staff, Etherlive provided the experience, equipment and support to keep critical staff operational whilst working on the temporary site.
Site Wide Network
A significant network was installed throughout the site to meet the requirements of the organising team. The size of the site (over 350 acres) means that a range of wireless technology had to be deployed, including dedicated point to point links and mesh wireless. Multiple secure networks were operated, ensuring that access was kept separate for the public, organisers, press and production.
VoIP Phone System
To keep in contact with remote box offices, stages and other locations, a site-wide VoIP network was deployed. Internal and national calls are free from the system, which uses the latest handsets with voicemail and embedded directories.
Free Public Wi-Fi
Since 2009, Etherlive has provided site-wide free public internet access through the wireless network. Attendees with smart phones were able to join the network to keep in contact with friends and family. The WOMAD iPhone application was available to download to find out more about bands on stage and listen to the radio station. In 2011, over 1TB of data was moved across the network during the festival.
Contactless Crew Catering
WOMAD, like many large festivals, has a constant challenge managing its catering systems. Cutting up tokens takes time and can be inaccurate. Etherlive provided each member of crew with a contactless ID card and lanyard they could use for their meals. Each card profile was managed by the WOMAD team, who could assign each crew member with a certain amount of tokens down to each day or meal. A simple swipe of the card at the canteen would credit their meal. This system significantly reduced the management overhead associated with crew meals whilst reducing costs.
Communication Tower Lights
Etherlive’s tower lighting systems were deployed throughout the site. The tower lights include a seven day run-time generator with support for wireless equipment and CCTV cameras. The tower lights were used for locations where permanent power was unsuitable but CCTV coverage was required.
Etherlive worked in partnership with the sound management company to enable remote sound monitors, which were deployed at the peripherals of the event and linked back to the central wireless network. Sound monitoring stations were connected to the secure organiser network, enabling the engineers to see a live view of all sound levels and ensuring they remained within the approved licence limitations.
Etherlive continues to work with WOMAD to find new opportunities for cost saving and innovative technology. As a key partner for the event, Etherlive works with the IT and production teams to identify areas which require improvement and then seek the right solution.