Would You Surrender Your Phone for a Three-Day Music Festival?
The newly announced Over Yondr Festival will ask fans to go without their devices for the whole weekend
If you’ve attended concerts, stand-up comedy sets or other performances where artists may be sensitive to fans recording their material, you’ve probably been forced to stash your phone in a Yondr pouch at some point. The magnetic locked pouches are used to enforce no-smartphone policies at live gigs, but while stowing away your phone for a couple hours at a show is one thing, the company will soon be asking fans to go without their devices for much longer — namely, the entirety of a new three-day music festival.
As Variety reports, attendees at the newly announced Over Yondr Festival in Greene County, New York will be required to go without their phones for the duration of the event. (Of course, there’s no need to worry about being able to get in touch with people in an emergency; fans can unlock and access their phones at designated phone-use areas, but they won’t be allowed to leave the area and bring their phone with them to any of the performance areas.) The camping festival, which will take place June 24-26, will feature performances by Sheer Mag and !!! among others. The idea, according to founder Graham Dugoni, is to give artists on the bill some peace of mind while encouraging attendees to be present in the moment.
“It really depends on the artist, and what their perspective is, but I can say that in the last eight years, the number one reason from what we hear from artists, and why they wish to use our product, is to maintain the atmosphere and the experience of the show,” Dugoni told Variety. “The nature of coming into a room without phones — and where everyone is on the same page about that — is a fundamentally different experience than when the audience is worried about how they’re going to document this or let friends know they’re there. It’s just a clearer picture. Now, there’s no doubt that in some of the shows that we do that privacy is an important component, as is protecting their material. I also know that there are artists who want privacy for their fans — that they be can be assured that after drinking too many beers, they’re not going to show up on YouTube.”
It’s a nice idea in theory, but will thousands of music festival attendees really be willing to surrender their phones for a full 72 hours? Especially in recent years, music festivals have attracted droves of influencers who spend just as much time snapping photos and posting to Instagram as they do actually checking out bands. Still, Dugoni is confident that Gen Z is actually eager to have an unplugged experience.
“We’ve been planning this for a while and we’re going to plan for this again going forward, partly because it is fun for us and our team — creating the type of space we would enjoy — and it resonates with younger people,” he said. “I think that these audiences are aware that three days of camping and listening to music without phones is a lot of fun. We’re already planning on doing more of our own shows, separate to the festival ideal too, because it is something we believe in.”
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