The future’s bright: forecasters imagine Glasto 2050

If you thought Twitter updates and Etienne de Crecy's cube were the limits of technology at festivals, then forecasters' predictions for Glastonbury 2050 will blow your mind.

Mobile phone operator Orange have commissioned The Future Laboratory to suggest the advances we can expect to see in the next 40 years and their ideas include contact lenses that act as retinal projectors, ‘grow your own’ fabrics and tattoos that connect you to the internet. Hmm.

The report, which included a panel of experts including Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis, focused on four keys areas:

“Beaming Bodies
Smart technologies within clothes will convey to others how much their friends are enjoying the festival with fabrics changing as music lover’s pheromones escalate during a band’s set.  The report also looks into the feasibility of tattoos which connect festival goers to the internet allowing us to share friends’ reactions to the performances. Finally, festival goers will be able to broadcast their feelings via nanotechnologies within the body, which will capture what festival goers see, hear and smell.

Massive Media Moments
An innovation in the way festivals are broadcast to those enjoying the experience from offsite through a revolutionary semantic web, which allows festival goers to search for a performance based on their emotions and moods.

As technology evolves, viewers wants and needs will also change. The TV will no longer be a static box but a device that can convey a holographic replication of the festival experience, wherever you choose to watch it, viewers will be surrounded by holograms to make them feel like they are watching the band with everyone else. Personalised playlists will also become the norm as viewers can remix their own version of the festival to share with friends and other fans.

An enhanced level of artist interaction with the audience, which will occur by layering the immediacy of the performance with a blend of technologies.  The traditional festival flag will become a holographic message board which allows the festival goer to send messages to the artist on stage whilst remaining see through to fans behind ensuring they do not block anyone’s view of the stage. This will allow the audience to influence how the performance unfolds and give the artist the chance to interact with fans in ways which were previously impossible. Armies of fans will be able to influence the artist’s visuals and set list using 3D gestural recognition software and haptic technologies created around new textiles that will allow festival goers to touch and feel each other whether watching from either side of the stage or either side of the world. Fans will be able to watch the artists from their own tent as 3D and laser projection technologies improve to provide a new level of intimacy to performances.

Off the grid
As environmental responsibility becomes the epitome of style, festivals will achieve self sustainability by harnessing energy sources and in turn encouraging less waste as a result. New forms of renewable energy such as printable solar panels, spray on protocells, which will turn your tent into a miniature garden, and harnessing the power of osmosis to produce chemical energy will all become commonplace at the festival of the future. Festivals will become self sustaining islands independent of external resource and therefore practicing low- end power consumption.”

Commenting on the report, Paul Jevons, Director of Products, Portals and Services at Orange said: “The heart of a festival has always been the enjoyment of a shared, live musical experience. However, over the years, festival goers and music fans have become less bound by geography and the need to actually be physically present to get a true experience. The Future of Festivals: Glastonbury 2050 report gives a great insight into how this might be acheived across the next 40 years.”

The full report is available here.

But to bring you back down to earth, Glastonbury Festival 2010 will take place from 23-27 June with performances from Gorillaz, Muse and Stevie Wonder and if you have tickets to the sold out event, it’s likely you’ll be sleeping in a tent.