Do you like music festivals? Do you like hacking? Well then, you would have loved Outside Hacks! Located at Eventbrite headquarters this past weekend, Aug. 3 & 4, Outside Hacks was Outside Lands’ first official Hackathon and was completely geared towards making apps to “improve the festival experience for both artists and fans.” The event ran from 3pm Saturday until 3pm Sunday and was made for a great 24-hour all-night experience!
I want to say the event kicked off right at 3PM, but when Sarah-Jane (@sarahjanemorris) and I arrived at 2:30, there was already an eager crowd waiting outside, ready to start. People were discussing ideas and forming teams before the doors had even opened! There was some real innovation waiting outside!
Hackers ready and waiting outside of Eventbrite Headquarters. Image credit to Gracenote.
The event started with a few quick API workshops by sponsors Gracenote, Echonest, Eventbrite, Facebook, Soundhound, and yours truly, Mashery. Other sponsors included Dolby, Google, Aloompa, PandoDaily, and PayPal, and Codemkrs produced the event. I presented APIs from Rdio, Rovi, USA TODAY Music Reviews, Jambase, Klout and PeerIndex as possible Mashery platforms for teams to use, and later made sure to tell the teams about TomTom once it became apparent that many developers and designers were interested in some sort of map functionality.
Here I am at the Mashery swag table, getting ready for the crowd. The swag wouldn’t stick around long.
After the workshops, participants presented over two-dozen ideas to the attending developers and designers. They showed us that music festivals are definitely ripe for hackathon inspired innovation! Ideas from syncing a concert’s light show with the audience’s phones, to a port-o-potty wait-time tracker, to a stage and time specific trivia game were all presented. Several of the ideas were so popular that different teams ended up tackling the same thing but from a different angle and point of view. Whoops! Nonetheless, they all came out pretty cool after a long night of hacking.
Developers and designers are waiting in line to pitch their ideas. Image credit to Gracenote.
Hackers are still going strong even as the midnight oil burns.
Festgenie, by Ethan Fan, Jui-Chung Wu, and Wen-Sao Hong, analyzes tweets about currently playing bands to determine whether the mood of the performance is positive or negative, and incorporates the band’s or artist’s Klout score so that users can “easily find the most popular bands playing now.”
Playlist Predictor was an app that used Rovi’s and Echonest’s music suggestions APIs to create optimum playlists of Outside Lands artists customized specifically for the user. It was developed by Kara Murphy and Fosco Marotto.
The OutsidePants team consisted of Yu Jiang Tham, Andy Jiang, and Jennifer Yip. They developed Outside LOAF, a handy lost and found app that makes the challenging misfortune of a lost item a much more pleasant and easy experience by utilizing Twilio’s and Tomtom’s APIs. Check out their demo video here!
The last Mashery API app, Outside Jujitsu, was an app developed by Leah that provided a more comprehensive view of the festival grounds, with uploaded pictures, artist data, and food truck information all readily available.
In the end, 22 hacks were demoed (a great rate for the ~60+ hackers there) and 25 were submitted. They all were definitely something to marvel at! The sponsor awards were announced soon after the presentations. Outside LOAF won best use of a Mashery API for their beautiful and useful app. They opted for three $100 Amazon gift cards over an XL Jawbone Jambase as their reward.
The hacks were so impressive the judges raised the finalist number from ten to fifteen. Both Playlist Predictor and Outside Pant’s Outside LOAF both qualified as finalists and were invited to the awards ceremony at the Independent the Wednesday following the hackathon. The teams were told to make a quick video presenting their app and to give it their all in the time between the hackathon and the awards ceremony.
The 15 Finalists:
Parkr by Areeb Khan, Jimmy, Zahay, and Saheef – A simple parking lot leasing and renting utility.
Music Buddies by Alex Greenspan, John Wang, and Adib Behjat - A webapp that uses your phone’s geolocation to connect you with other festival attendees searching the same artist or band as you.
Crowdjitsu by Jason Hsu, Chase Farmer Stephanie, Rob, and Leah – An app that allows users to avoid crowds like a ninja. It uses predictive data modeling to beat the traffic around the festival.
Festify by Chen Liang – Allows the user to enjoy the festival experience from the comfort of their homes.
OutsideLandsVR by Manoj Patel and Angel Hizon – A virtual reality photo tour of Outside Lands, compatible with the Oculus Rift.
crowdSpirit by Ali Razfar and Thomas – An app that allows artists to play sounds from the audience’s phones.
Musaic by Sandeep Chivukula, Rob Cavin, and Jeff Vick – A webapp that uses Instagram images from Outside Lands to build massive collaborative works of art.
Nope Dumbass by Julie Logan and Amit Aggarwal – A trivia app that tests an audience on what they know about the currently performing artist.
Schedulebot 3000 by JT Bowler, Derek Tingle, and Austin – A scheduler app based on Facebook likes.
Playlist Predictor by Kara Murphy and Fosco Marotto – A webapp that will create a playlist based on recently performed music by bands at Outside Lands that the user is interested in.
OutsideLOAF by Team OutsidePants (Yu Jiang Tham, Andy Jiang, and Jennifer Yip) – A lost and found app for Outside Lands. Won the Mashery Prize!
Boogles by Jeff Vick – An augmented reality app that will show a user the closest locations that sell beer.
LightSaber by Lap Chan, Shawn Wang, Jiahao Li, and Jie Lin – An app that allows a performer to turn the audience’s smart phones into a light show and has both-direction interaction between the audience and the performer.
OutsideLines by Raphie Palefsky-Smith – Crowd-powered tool to find (and help the community find) the shortest lines for food and port-a-potties.
Wat’son by Roman Pshichenko, Case Sandberg, Chris Carroux, Ricky Zein, and Chris Gervang An app that will give you an overview of who is currently playing at each stage, what song they are playing, and how much longer their set is.
When Wednesday rolled around there were several teams at the Independent early (Some had been there for hours! That’s some passion!), either waiting in line at the door or across the street at a burger joint. I soon discovered why so many people were across the street: the Independent is 21+ only! Oops! The Wat’son and Parkr teams ended up not presenting and presenting over video-chat, respectively. For much of the evening the under-21 hackers and I lingered across the street, listening for updates from inside and trying to set up presentations via wireless. It was a good time, no matter the locale.
Team Wat’son are hard at work trying to get Google Hangout set up so they can present over the internet!
Luckily, Neil decided to drop in and was able to get in to attend the award ceremonies. He kept those of us outside updated with news from his twitter feed, including revealing the surprise judge: MC Hammer! Awesome! Neil was great too. He stayed long everyone waiting outside had drifted away towards home and announced the winner over his twitter.
Here’s Julie kicking it with her app Nope, Dumbass!
Grand Prize Winnder: Team OutsidePants won with Outside LOAF! Congratulations! In addition to the three $100 Amazon gift cards from Mashery they won $3000 in cash and VIP tickets to Outside Lands. Great work Yu Jiang Tham, Andy Jiang, and Jennifer Yip!
Andy and Jennifer rockin’ it at the Independent!
Outside Hacks was a blast! There was a great turn out, a lot of fun innovation and apps, and a fantastic hacker atmosphere. It was definitely a splendid experience for my second-ever hackathon. Thanks for the great time, Outside Hacks!
And we’re done! Image credit to Gracenote.
Note: For more pictures of Outside Hacks, check out our Flickr set here.