We Make Awesome Sh

How we made a social wall at Glastonbury Festival

If you donned your wellies, got your groove on and attended Glastonbury Festival this year then you might have spotted a social media feed being displayed on the giant screens in and around the Silver Hayes area. You might even have been cajoled into sharing your #silverhayes images and seen your slightly muddy festival mugshot on the screen in front of you - yeay you’re famous and you’ve just become a part of an interactive art piece at Glastonbury Festival.

These social media walls were displayed all morning before the first acts performed, in between acts and then right through the night after the last act had played. The screens showed images from festival goers, artists, celebrities and staff with the hashtag silverhayes from social media networks as well as displaying images of the line up of the stages around Silver Hayes. The screens were powered by AwesomeWall.

Five fresh faced members of We Make Awesome Sh arrived at dusk on ‘pre-festival’ Monday and reported to the press and digital office backstage at Silver Hayes ready to battle-test AwesomeWall in the middle of a muddy field in Somerset.

Team WMAS

Having spent that last three months tweaking, testing and perfecting our system, not to mention the four years of development before that, the set-up was super easy once we were on site. We set AwesomeWall to track any posts from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag silverhayes and chose the pre-moderation system to ensure that we saw and approved every post that would appear on the screens - there’s no telling what festival goers might take pictures of! Next, we created a whitelist of trusted users whose pictures would go straight through to the wall without us having to approve them.

The plan was to run AwesomeWall on the screens in Pussy Parlure and Sonic Stage and since these screens were different sizes we had to adapt the AwesomeWall for each screen and make separate interstitial images for each one. Once that was sorted, we followed the cables to the outside broadcast truck where the lovely team from Solent University were doing the live broadcasting and where our mac mini would live for the next week as it ran the AwesomeWall for Sonic Stage. Boom!

Next to Pussy Parlure, where we connected the laptop up to the screen and plugged in the wifi because that’s all you need for an AwesomeWall - a computer, a screen and the interwebs. Admittedly getting the interwebs to the right place in the middle of a field was not quite as easy as 1,2,3; between us, and with our mate Steve, we had to crawl under stages and round the back of ‘compost loos’ to get our cables in the right place. Steve then had to sit in the sweltering heat (yes at this point the famous Glastonbury mud had not arrived) and crimp the end of the cables we had just gaffa taped into place. A few test runs and tweaking of images later and the AwesomeWalls were ready to go.

Setting up AwesomeWall

We retreated to sh** camp to open a beer and to sort out a duty rota. We split the team into ‘techie’ and ‘non-techie’ sections. The techies took it in turn to be on call incase of any technical emergencies during the festival and the non-techies had the task of moderating all content. To make our lives easier, the techies have made it super easy to moderate content from your phone. So we could be out and about watching a gig and still moderating the content back at Silver Hayes - a lovely green-for-go star to approve a post or a red-stop bin to delete it.

You fun loving festival goers posted your selfies and arty photos in your thousands and there were surprisingly few posts we had to reject. So thank you for being enthusiastic participants and for having some restraint when given the opportunity to post anything on a giant screen - we’re very grateful not to have seen any willies!

Sophie Barfield
  • Austria

Living in the mountains, learning technical lingo, ability to recite lyrics to Disney's Frozen, beating everyone at Soul Calibur, musical fanatic, wanabee Shakespearean.

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