Fest Faves: Technology APPlies to Festival, too

by Dominick Cross

Festival International de Louisiane's use of tech trends is another applicable reason why it remains in vogue with the young, the older and everyone in-between.

[Editor's Note: This is the fourth in our new blog series called "Fest Fave" that will take a close look at all things Festival International and cool stuff in particular that catches our eye.]

Keeping up with tech trends is another applicable reason why Festival International de Louisiane remains in vogue with the young, the older and everyone in-between.

For instance, there's the self-contained Scavenger Hunt App that will have you scavenging (or is hunting a better word?) from Monday, April 23, to Sunday, April 29 all over downtown Lafayette. Yes, it coincides with Festival which is April 25-29.

"Our App is going to be so cool this year. And the Scavenger Hunt is a new feature," says Aipyo Obala, Festival marketing coordinator. "It's all completely done inside of the app. Once you download the app, all of the questions are there."

And the answer to those questions will take you all over Festival grounds.

"And it has prizes," says Obala. "You can participate as much or as little as you want." Prizes include two tickets to the Louisiana Experience in New Orleans "along with a hotel night stay," she says. "Which is pretty great considering that week is during Jazz Fest Week."

Some of the questions steer hunters to performances. Other times you'll have to take a picture of something or someone in a particular shirt. Hunters must be 18 or older.

"You'll accumulate points and be able to track your points and we're able to track your points, too," says Obala, adding that the check-in area for the hunt App is in front of the Festival office. "So when you complete a task and you to click 'done,' you can actually go to the check-in area." And there, a staffer will make sure you've got the correct answer and if you do, then a scan of the QRC (Quick Response Code) will follow.

"It's hi-tech," Obala says. "It's something else people can do while they're here."

There's also a new weather feature on the Festival App.

"People call our office asking for weather updates and we're not in the office during Festival," says Obala. "We have a great partnership with KATC, so we now actually have their weather section on our App. People can see what the day's temperature is, if there's any weather, like weather that's not sun-shiny coming in.

"It's cool," she says. "We're constantly working on it and trying to find ways to keep the App active."

Festival had the Slacker Radio App last year where fans were able to listen to bands scheduled to play. The App is basically a way to get information.

"Because the App is going to link to newsfeed on our website and on our Facebook, if something happens and a band is not able to make it, the first place we'd send it out is to the media, our website and our Facebook," she says. "If they've already downloaded our App, there's a feed automatically that feeds from our Facebook page, our website and Twitter, they would see instantly the same information once we release it to everyone."

Festival has hooked up with UL Lafayette's Center for Culture and Ecotourism with Chat Room, another new happening. However, this Chat Room has nothing to do with technology, but it's free and open to the public.

Obala says the moderated interviews, in English and French, will also allow questions from the public.

"It's going to be something new and interesting," she says. "This allows fans and new fans to really learn more about these artists, because you see them on a performance and then they're gone. But to be able to interact with them, especially if it's your first time seeing them and you loved the performance..."

All of these things, from technology applications to a sit-down interview with an artist are simply more signs of growth on behalf of Festival.

"Of course we want to put on an entertaining festival and we want people to continue to come back," says Obala. "Being that it's an international festival, it's evolved from just putting on a performance to the educational factor as well. Which is why we have these different things.

"We're celebrating our culture and we're celebrating the world's culture," she says. "And we're celebrating that connection."

The official free Mobile Apps (iPhone & Droid) for Festival International de Louisiane is now available for download. It is your official electronic guide to Festival. Find out when your favorite bands are playing, create your own Festival schedule, read about all of the bands playing at Festival, listen to their music, watch a video and even navigate your way around downtown Lafayette.

And to get that App, go here.