Missed out on a ticket to Splendour In The Grass? Jealous of those that are currently road-tripping their way to Byron to get their ‘Hey Ya!’ on?
Well, there’s a unique way to cure some of your music festival FOMO this weekend; allowing you to experience Splendour vicariously without having to tramp through the mud and the crowds – courtesy of the brains behind the Warmest 100.
Nick Drewe, one of the Brisbane IT wizards behind the alternative Triple J Hottest 100 countdown, has launched his latest project: Splendour In The Grams.
Part social experiment, part digital shrine, and a little bit of an unofficial Splendour promotional tool, Splendour In The Grams is a site that cycles through Instagram photos marked with the hashtags #SplendourInTheGrass and #Splendour in real-time. There’s an embedded stream of Triple J’s live coverage to let “those of us playing along at home this weekend” to be a part of the action.
“Splendour seems like more than just a music festival, it’s an event, a pilgrimage for some, and extends through all sorts of media,” Drewe tells Tone Deaf. “I’m interested in how we can tie all of these different outlets together and create a new experience.”
Coding the website himself in just under a week, with a little help from fellow wiz Matt Way, Drewe says he’s no longer a festival-going fanatic himself (“I guess I outgrew the culture. I was a big Soundwave fan for a while”) but that he’s still captivated by the sense of culture and community, especially in its relation to social media.
“I’m fascinated by what people share about themselves online, and Instagram and Twitter are awesome sources for collecting all sorts of public data that people are sharing about themselves,” he says.
“I’ve been playing around with Instagram’s API lately, and thinking about interesting ways to use it. I’ve also been looking for another music project to work on, and Splendour was about a week away, so the idea just sort of fell into place.”
Though Splendour In The Grams feed is currently a little slow on the action – mainly filled with selfies and shots in front of The Big Banana of those en route or pics of those setting up camp – Drewe expects the experience to pick up once Splendour is in full-swing.
Though Drewe simply built Splendour In The Grams “because I thought it would be interesting to watch, and I could see that other people might enjoy it too,” the ‘watch along at home’ model has obvious business model potential for prospective brands and clients looking to get in on the action.
“I can totally see the commercial value in capturing and sharing all of the social media that surrounds events like Splendour,” Drewe remarks of the potential of selling his idea off; “If any festivals want to say hi, I’m willing to chat.”
There is of course also the potential for bands, brands, or any old twitter fanatic to ‘hijack’ the Splendourgrams feed by flooding the hashtags. “It’s just the nature of Instagram,” Drewe replies. “Trying to filter that sort of thing out is a cat and mouse game, I think you’re better to embrace it. It’s usually not long before “corporatised” hashtags get hijacked by disgruntled consumers, it works both ways.” (Case in point: the disastrous #AskThicke campaign).
As for the inclusion of Triple J’s streaming coverage, Drewe explains there is no official involvement but he simply wanted Splendour In The Grams “to incorporate music, and what better way than a live stream of Splendour itself?”
“I’m not sure if anyone from Triple J has seen the site yet. They were pretty quiet about the Warmest 100, I’m not sure they like to comment on these sort of things. I’m a fan, I hope they like it,” He adds.
Given the opportunity, we have to ask – has the Brisbanite already planning another return of the Warmest 100 for a third year, despite the crackdown on their voting systems in response to the predictive list?
“We’ve got nothing planned at the moment,” Drewe admits, “but if there’s something interesting there to explore, we’ll have a crack!”