Going to Roskilde Festival in the name of research

How do festivalgoers feel comfortable? How can their answers be used to giving them a better experience - by the hour? Is it possible to predict how many burgers are consumed during the next couple of hours to keep supplies coming and provide you with your favourite food? Have you ever worked as a volunteer - and if yes, are you a Bart or a Marge? These are some of the issues that CBS researchers are looking into at Roskilde Festival using big data.


Photo: Thomas Kjær

Researchers and students from CBS are going to Roskilde Festival to study how anonymised data from social media and the Roskilde app can be used to provide the festivalgoers with a far better experience - minute by minute. The research involves clean toilets, enough staff, supplies for the stalls, which routes are the most used, security and much more, explains Professor Ravi Vatrapu, Head of the Center for Business Data Analytics at CBS.

- This is a project with great perspective as these experiences can be applied to urban environments. We are planning to establish a partnership with a large municipality later this year. Our data gives insight into how people spend their time and how they feel while they are doing it. The data can be used for providing a better experience and service, says Ravi Vatrapu.

How to protect yourself online
The project aims at being best-in-class when it comes to anonymising data from social media or apps. Obviously because it goes well with the Roskilde spirit, but also to develop a model that citizens and festvalgoers wish to contribute to.

"Data will be anonymised and collected to big data, after which we analyse the patterns. We comply with EU and Danish legislation and we do not use any individual data. In this way, we differ from companies like Google, Apple and Facebook; companies that most Danes interact with every day," says Ravi Vatrapu, who also has a few pointers to help protect yourself:

"Today, it is completely impossible to 'stay off the grid', as it will have great impact on your quality of life. Instead, you should be attentive of the permissions you grant when you download apps and your private settings. You cannot trust the companies and it is going to take some time before legislation is up-to-date".

Foresight at Roskilde Festival
The use of anonymised data in the Roskilde project is going to result in several research projects this year, e.g. the project Geographies of Being, Sharing and Feeling, which is an analysis of a combination of GPS data, what festivalgoers share on social media and an assessment of their feelings. Another project is the Roskilde Festival Time Use Analysis, in which visualisations of GPS data will provide an insight into how much time festivalgoers spend on different activities, such as listening to music, walking, sleeping, hanging out and at which stages, stalls or routes. By means of advanced artificial intelligence, a third project can categorise the anonymised festivalgoers into different general types, which makes it easier for the festival to develop and target services at its customers' needs. The fourth project, which is a cooperation with IBM, will develop a model that can predict the sale of roast pork sandwiches, mojitos and coffee. In this way the stalls will have the right products on the shelves and there is a chance that the festivalgoers can get the product they want.

Per Østergaard Jacobsen, Project Manager and External Lecturer at CBS, has taken part in developing the project framework over the past three years. He considers research in the use of big data at Roskilde Festival unique in an international perspective.

"It is great for us and quite foresighted of Roskilde Festival to open the doors for this project. We are really grateful for this. Seen from a research perspective, Roskilde Festival is unique in a global context with so many data sources and possibilities of analysing behaviour and consumer habits. The data can be used to develop smarter cities and relevant products," he says.

Are you Liza or Bart?
But research at Roskilde Festival is not only about big data. Anker Brink Lund, Professor at CBS, is in charge of a completely different project. He has been studying the social life of Roskilde Festival volunteers; i.e. those who get a free ticket in return for selling drinks, rigging out stages, patrolling the camp sites or taking on some of the numerous other positions that a giant non-profit festival such as Roskilde needs to function.

In the Roskilde annual review (pp. 24-25), Anker Brink Lund has categorised the volunteers into four archetypes inspired by the American TV show The Simpsons. Lisa; conscientious, always walks an extra mile to obtain contributory influence. Bart; works as little as possible and parties all the time. Homer; sociable and sticks with one particular group of volunteers without being passionate about the rest of the festival. Marge; works voluntarily in an organisation and is there to make money for her/his association or club - not for the music.

For more information, please contact Roskilde Festival email press@roskilde-festival.dk, phone +45 30108281 or CBS press contact.

The page was last edited by: Communications // 09/02/2020