Apps and hacks to make the most of your phone at festivals


From Boardmasters in Newquay to TRNSMT in Glasgow, summer in the UK means music festivals! Cue mile long queues for portable loos, extortionate prices for wellies and water, and some seriously NSFW fashion choices. 

Also cue families up and down the land planning trips with the kids to get some culture and family time at one of these glorious occasions.

In the So Close household, we’re the first to value a bit of a tech detox during family holidays, but we also know that facing the prospect of lost kids, awkward set times and unpredictable weather without the help of your smart phone is daunting! That’s why we’ve compiled our top tips for getting the most out of your smartphone from battery hacks to handy apps!

1.) Hack your battery 

Our last festival trip was 'Beautiful Days' a few years back with the kids. Tarot hit on the genius idea of buying us each a disposable camera to help save battery life on our phones. Without the unlimited shots you get with digital, the kids learnt to operate some shutterbug restraint, carefully choosing shots of what was most important. The processed film had a great 90’s retro feel too which was a bonus!

A watch and a torch will also help you conserve precious battery life for the important things, like posting festival selfies to Facebook, checking on the dog sitter, and getting 5 minutes peace and quiet by letting the kids go on Netflix.

If you’re battery conscious, download an app like Battery HD which tells you what functions you can perform and how long they can be performed for with the power you have left. Try dimming your screen brightness and putting your phone on airplane mode to conserve your juice. 

2.) Find the important stuff

You’re tired, it’s late, and you’ve spent the last hour refereeing a row about which band to watch tomorrow morning; the last thing you need is to stumble about tripping over guy ropes looking for your tent. There’s no shame in getting a little digital hep! Both the Festival Buddy and BC Tent Finder apps use GPS to pinpoint your tents location, so you can be sure you’re sleeping under the correct canvas whilst looking like a navigation buff to the kids. 

Glastonbury loos are not known for being daisy fresh. Try using google maps to find the nearest “proper” loo by searching for local cafes and fast food outlets, and plan loo trips into your day - fussy teens will thank you for it. Oh, and so you don’t loose the kids you might consider using Find My Friends. Maybe. 

3.) Have a handy home screen 

A glimpse of your home screen is the quickest way to get info fast without draining your battery. Create a custom festival home screen by screenshooting maps or set lists for easy access. Then, you can “accidentally” leave it as your home screen for bragging rights at the water cooler back home, like a digital version of a grubby wristband. 
If you’re worried about losing your phone, take a screenshot of a friend’s number and load it as your home screen so anyone who finds it will have a way of getting it back to you even if your phone is locked  (If you’re feeling extra sneaky, you could give your friend the name of a celeb in attendance instead of their own to incentivise the finder!).

4.) Cheat at festi gossip

Planning on checking out new and obscure acts?  Why not switch on Shazam during a set to help you identify tracks you like to save them for later, or impress the kids with your knowledge of the band (especially if you team it with a google search for some sneaky fact mining).

From secret gigs to backstage gossip, following festival hashtags on twitter and instagram can help you stay ahead of the curve both during and in the run up to the festival. You can also set up a hashtag of your own with friends and family to easily find and share everyone’s best snaps. 


5.) Plan for signal failure

With everyone around uploading pics to give their mates festi FOMO, calling their Mum to find out of you can eat 3 day old chicken and googling “how to open a can without a can opener”,  it’s no wonder that phone networks struggle to cope at festivals.

Avoid the frustration of being unable to connect by taking screenshots of timetables and maps so you don’t miss out on your favourite acts even if your signal bar is lower than the food hygiene standards of your average camper.

There are also some great emergency apps that don’t require a connection, like the British Red Cross First Aid app (handy after a spell in the mosh pits) and Firechat which lets you connect with people up to 210 feet away even without internet access or cellular data. 

Wishing you a fuss free festival time!

The So Close team