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Must-have apps for music festivals

Leah Yamshon | April 16, 2014
There's more to a music festival than just listening to the music. Use these apps to make any festival a weekend to remember.

Stay connected

Festival venues are massive, and when you add thousands of other festivalgoers to the mix, it can be hard to find friends and organize a meeting spot.

While you should always be wary of using location-aware services that broadcast where you are, they can be helpful in noisy situations where cell service is jammed. For iPhone users, there's Find My Friends, but for a more-inclusive offering, try Circle (free; iOS and Android).

Circle is local discovery network that coordinates all nearby activity into one beautifully designed feed. When you get to a new stage or area of the festival grounds, snap a photo, tag it with your location, and leave a simple note for all to see. Not only can you see where your friends are and what they're up to, but you can look at posts from other festival attendees--a great way to not miss out on any unexpected appearances or surprises. 

Another great way to keep in contact with friends is GroupMe  (free; iOS, Android, and Windows Phone), a multiplatform group messaging system. If everyone in your party installs this free app, you can create a group just for your fellow festival attendees. It uses data instead of cell signal, and offers a wide range of features. Broadcast your location, coordinate a meet-up, and check in with your friends throughout the day.

Multi-day festivals can be pricey if you're attending from out of town, so it's best to keep track of who is paying for what if you're sharing a hotel room or campsite with friends. One big plus to GroupMe is the app's Split feature, which lets group members keep track of shared expenses and send funds to friends who have picked up the tab.

FireChat takes a different approach: You can message anyone nearby who has the app over your smartphone's Multipeer Connectivity Framework. It supports connections using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and maintains that connection even when your phone can't access the Internet. The only downside is that, at least as of this writing, FireChat messages are anonymous and are displayed as one large group chat. Trying to contact a specific friend through FireChat could be difficult, but you could log in and chat with people nearby to see if your friends are at least at the same stage as you are.

Enjoy the show!

Once you get to the festival, remember to play it safe. Keeping hydrated is essential in the summer heat, and I'm not talking about alcohol. 

WaterIn (free; iOS and Android) is a simple little app designed to help you remember to drink water at regular intervals throughout the day. When you take a drink, log the amount (a small glass, large glass, or bottle), and watch your chart fill up. If it's been a little while since you've last logged any water, you'll get a sweet notification.


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