Riot Fest is an annual Chicago-based music festival, founded in 2005, hosting some of music’s biggest acts every year over a three-day weekend.
MobiLoud Canvas is a great fit for just about any type of business – from news sites to ecommerce stores.
But an app for a music festival? Why not?
That’s exactly what Riot Fest did, with the help of MobiLoud. These apps have proven to be a powerful, multi-purpose tool for their business, as well as a hit with their customers.
Keep reading to see how they did it.
Riot Fest is an annual 3-day Chicago music festival, first held in 2005. They’ve seen a number of big name acts participate over that time, including Nine Inch Nails, My Chemical Romance, Blink 182, The Cure, and the Wu Tang Clan.
Along with the flagship festival, they book over a hundred shows in smaller venues in the city throughout the year. They’re also, in effect, a digital magazine, with news and other features that fall in line with the music their audience responds to.
Riot Fest’s website is the home base for all the information people need about the festival weekend – such as news, guides, scheduling, logistics and more.
While this was all available on the website, an app just packaged it in an easier and more convenient way for festival-goers.
But even more pressing, as Riot Fest expanded, booking more shows, publishing content and selling merch via the website, they wanted a way to increase retention from people who attended a festival.
Here’s what Director of Marketing Tim Toomey said about their plans when moving into the app space.
“We wanted the app to live beyond the festival and not be something that is just used for 3 days and discarded. So I wanted an application that could not only account peoples’ questions and needs through the festival weekend, but also provide value after that, when it comes to seeing music around town that falls underneath specific genres of music that we like.”
That’s just the start – Tim believes that an app can help them seriously grow what they do as a business.
“An app is a great marketing channel for us to use through the year, specially for people that buy tickets to shows, which is ultimately how we make our money. We figured it would be a good place for us to do more business by selling more club shows, and eventually the plan is to try and turn this into some sort of community, and for example add chat functionality.”
MobiLoud wasn’t the first option the Riot Fest marketing team sought out to build their mobile apps.
They had a festival app already. However, it was very basic, made with a simple template that didn’t make it easy to customize, add any kind of advanced functionality, or do what they were doing on their website.
“We had apps previously. They were rigid and sort of these pre-packaged systems where we would upload a schedule. It was very limited in functionality, so when we were looking for other solutions for apps we thought it would be nice to have something that we can use through the year – because like I said we have 100 plus club shows to promote.”
They were after a more comprehensive option, that allowed them to grow their app into something more. In this search, they looked in particular for something that worked with WordPress, which would allow them to lean on a platform they were already very familiar with.
That’s exactly what we were able to offer. MobiLoud would allow them to make changes to the app simply by altering their website, and not needing to learn any new tools or technology.
“We looked at options [to build an app] knowing our site is a WordPress site and that we felt very comfortable using it. Now, since the app works seamlessly with WordPress, we know that we can basically turn it into basically anything we wanted through our website.”
It was the combination of usability – being able to make changes in WordPress and have them reflect in the apps – along with the ability in the MobiLoud platform to make additional customization where necessary, that made us the standout option.
“I think a platform like MobiLoud that has some level of customization, meaning the app could be a living breathing thing versus a very static type of app, made it a no-brainer for us.”
The feature set fit, and so did the price.
“We looked at a couple of other systems similar to MobiLoud, but ultimately it was the most cost-effective, something that could live and grow with us.”
So just how successful has Riot Fest’s new mobile app been?
The app peaked in the top 15 in the App Store charts, proving a huge success, with tens of thousands of downloads from Riot Fest attendees.
“The day of the festival we reached spot #12 on the App Store. As far as number of downloads, I was looking into our active devices and it was around 27k.”
A fully-functional app, providing more than just festival information allowed Riot Fest to keep in touch with people who attended, instead of the relationship ending when the festival did.
“We knew we could use it within the festival (like we have done years prior), our festival attendees would use to find places to eat, figure out where they were in the festival grounds, but then after the festival they would use it to be in the loop about the music that they have just heard.”
Push notifications are among the biggest value-adds of building and launching your own mobile apps.
This holds true for Riot Fest as well. Their mobile apps allow them to use push notifications to sell merchandise, as well as promoting additional shows throughout the year.
“We did a big push for merchandise sales at the festival, and it made it easier for us to sell more with push notifications. In fact, as soon as I jump off the call with you, I’ll be sending a push notification to announce a club show that we have coming up.”
This feature on its own brings a whole new dimension to what Riot Fest can do as a business, outside of their flagship event. And it’s only possible with mobile apps.
The beautiful thing about MobiLoud is that it works for any kind of website or web app.
From a hybrid, “festival hub”/digital magazine app like Riot Fest, to a more straightforward news site or blog, to ecommerce apps, learning apps, membership sites… you name it, MobiLoud is the perfect solution.
See for yourself what we can do for your business, how the app conversion process works, and how your app is going to look, by scheduling a free, personalized demo.
The process is straightforward, pain-free, and takes no technical knowledge whatsoever. You simply configure your apps within the MobiLoud dashboard, or you can get our team of experts to do all the work for you.
We take care of all the technical work under the hood, either way.
Mobile apps are the way of the future. People today want an app to access content on their mobile devices, and with MobiLoud, your business can give them what they want.
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