With every festival-goer spending more and more time on his or her cell phone at festivals, a popular new texting app called Firechat has sparked up new conversations about the future of phones at live events and weekend festivals.
We’ve all been there. You try to find your friends who went to go check out the drum and bass stage while you snuck away to see some of the headliner’s set (even though you promised to stay at the trance tent). You and your friends get separated and there’s no clear cell service or Wi-Fi signal in sight. That’s where Firechat comes in.
Created by San Francisco startup Open Garden, Firechat is a pioneering new texting service that utilizes a large group of cell phones’ Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities to create an independent “mesh network” of connected devices that allows users’ phones work off one another to get messages from sender to receiver. The advantage of Firechat, as opposed to traditional cell phone towers, is that the more devices there are, the better the service works. Fans will now be able to focus more on enjoying the event rather than scrambling across the grounds to fight for the best service spots.
The app originally gained traction at this year’s Burning Man, with another surge of popularity among Hong Kong users during the government protests. According to Vijay Nair, CEO of Only Much Louder, the organizer behind the Bacardi NH7 Weekender, Firechat made its first official festival debut at the Delhi-based event over the weekend–where artists were given the ability to interact with fans directly through the app.
“I am excited that Bacardi NH7 Weekender will be the first festival to enable live interaction through Firechat. It is a great tool for artists to interact with fans and we don’t have to worry about traditional networks failing as they tend to do when large crowds are present.”