The Newport Folk Festival is one of the premier folk festivals in the country, and one thing that sets it apart from the others is the feeling that everyone in attendance is sharing something special and unique. The festival organizers go out of their way to encourage that feeling of community and sharing by providing once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for the artists and their fans. Pop-up performances and guest appearances are just a few of the pieces of the puzzle for Newport Folk.
The goal of this app was not only to be a companion to festival-goers in a traditional sense (with schedules, artist bios and festival map) but also to be that little angel on their shoulder that lets them know their favorite artist just grabbed his or her instruments and is playing a few acoustic tunes down by the water’s edge.
At the beginning of the process we were faced with a decent-sized smartphone project with little time to complete it. We ended up choosing PhoneGap as a platform to save development cycles, jQuery Mobile as the framework and Urban Airship as a featured partner. Our app’s differentiating feature is the frequent updates sent during the festival, and after reading about Urban Airship and the ease of integration with PhoneGap, the choice was a no-brainer.
Response to the project from both the client and the users was overwhelmingly positive. Reports put total downloads of the application at 1905 (roughly 10% of the weekends crowd) and total push messages received over the weekend at 35.5 thousand, setting up the 2012 Newport Folk app for a nice second season.