App Smart

Mobile companions to summer music fests

Back in the 1990s, the British pop band Pulp sang a verse about summer music festivals that went, “Is this the way they say the future’s meant to feel? Or just 20,000 people standing in a field?”

Well, now it is the future.

And if you’re a festivalgoer, you have a futuristic tool to add extra zing to the music, food and fun: apps on your phone. The first festival app you’ll want to download is the official app from your festival of choice.


These apps vary wildly in quality, but they can be a great way to catch up on important real-time news like stage changes.

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Be wary of these apps, though.

Their usefulness may be limited, and you may sometimes be asked to give up personal information to festival organizers.

Check the small print and make sure you’re OK with sharing your data and seeing targeted ads.


Free on iOS and Android

Festivals are by nature noisy and disorganized, which can make it tricky to find out what’s going on.


Circle may be able to help. This app taps into a kind of sharing and discovery network that lets you make geolocated notes to remind you, your friends, and other concertgoers about particular places of importance.

You can even include photos with the notes, which may help you remember the best eateries and camping spots.

Circle collates information from many users into one place,
and it can show very timely data. This means the app could, for example, alert you if it’s worth going to a particular show, based on what people in the crowd are sharing.

It relies on community posting, so it may not always give you consistently useful results.

But it’s free on both iOS and Android, so it’s definitely worth trying.

Free on iOS


Android users can check out the extremely popular app, which has simple design values and could be a very powerful tool to help organize your trip. comes with task lists and reminders, and its Moment feature walks you through planning which incomplete tasks you’re going to tackle each day.

The app is free to download and is also available for iOS devices.

Yahoo Weather

Free on iOS and Android

Weather can make or break a festival: Britain’s huge Glastonbury event, for example, is as famous for its rain and mud as for its music.

So keeping on top of weather is important, both before you arrive and while you’re there.

The Yahoo Weather app, free on iOS and Android, looks great and is easy to use.

Still, watch out: It’s easy to get lost in all the detailed forecast information.

Oh, and remember to put down your phone
occasionally to enjoy the most important part of a festival: being there.

Kit Eaton writes on technology for The New York Times.