Last night, one of Shambala 2018’s secret venues, The Data Mine, took the gong for Unique Festival Arena at the Independent Festival Awards 2018.
The Data Mine started life as an April Fools joke a few years back, when we claimed to have brought in ‘Cambridge Analyticus’ in as our first ever corporate sponsor, to present a new venue that harvested all your data, fed you cookies and put you through some totally immersive data enhancement and audience segmentation techniques before stripping you of all your freedom, FUN! (Read the original April Fool’s post here).
Silliness aside, the idea stuck with us, and a few years back when we were looking into building our first festival app, we were struck by how all the off-the-shelf, customisable festival apps available, whilst being ‘free to use’, expected a huge amount of our audience’s data in return. As usual, if something online is ‘free’, you are generally the product. No, thank you. Instead, we decided to get a crack team of digital geniuses (shout out to the Nickless Brothers at 1up Digital) to build us our own app. Totally free to use and totally anonymous for you lot – using blockchain technology – which opened up a whole new world of digital possibilities that we are only starting to explore, but we started with The Data Mine…
Anyone who downloaded our app was able to validate a unique and anonymous ‘community token’ on site, something of a badge of participation in the Shambala 2018 community. Once a token was validated, the holder was able to locate and access a top-secret venue.
The Data Mine opened as darkness descended, through a blown out mine shaft, complete with digital canaries in cages and interactive art installations. Intrepid revellers who tunnelled further would discover a serious late night party space, blasting out underground future sounds, complete with lasers, television-headed dancers and flashing walls of coding. The Data Mine went OFF – huge thanks to the build and decor crew, the designers, DJs and the whole team.
Moving forward, we intend to do a lot more with blockchain at Shambala – all designed to push back against the ever more dystopic and invasive digital landscape we live in and look to positive alternatives. . We want to use digital for the positive and encourage real world physical interactions through tech. We believe there could be opportunity for our community to support, create, inspire, exchange, debate, determine and trust more and more… watch this space!
The Shambala Team x