As the live side of the music and entertainment industry continues to find new ways to utilize fans’ phone addictions to increase brand awareness, not everyone is on board with the use of mobile devices at their events. Such was the case for Britain’s FLY Open Air Festival, which took place in Edinburgh this past weekend. The multi-day music event became the first U.K. festival to partially prohibit the use of phones on-site in hopes that attendees are better able to “actually live in the moment”.
According to the announcement shared by the festival last week, fans who enjoyed performances from the event’s “Boiler Room Stage” throughout the weekend would not be allowed to use their phones while doing so. Similar to other anti-phone shows put on by artists like Jack White, fans were forced to place their phones in lockable pouches before entering the stage area. The festival’s justification for policing its attendees simply read, “Live in the moment. Not through a screen.” The festival ordered a reported 8,000 cases to be used by attendees at that specific stage at the event.
The festival also made sure to provide reminders of the anti-phone policy at their one of two stages with signs posted throughout the event space.
— FLY Open Air (@openairfly) May 19, 2019
“Dance music is becoming more popular within youth culture, and more and more young people are getting addicted to their phones. It means people are watching the whole show through their screens,” the event’s director Tom Ketley shared about their decision to ban the usage of mobile devices. “We felt like there was no other way do this other than take quite drastic action. If you put stickers over people cameras they just take them off.”
So far no major music festival in North America has utilized the lockable pouches at its events, although it would add an element of mystic within popular music which has been lost due to the barrage of content uploaded every second of every day by phone users. Then again, it’s still only mid-May.