Technology Yin and Yang at Austin City Limits Music Festival

SXSW fan stays connected
By Renee DeLaune   |   October 21, 2014

Have you ever noticed how technology can connect you to your cyber life while disconnecting you from your real life? It’s the yin and yang of technology, as I see it.

We love the ease of access of “plugging in”. But, we are left feeling “unplugged” from the world around us.

I recently saw these opposing forces at work when I had the pleasure of attending weekend two of the 2014 Austin City Limits Music Festival in October.

At Delaune and Associates, we work with high-tech clients, so I couldn’t help but notice the technology infused into the Festival experience. The variety of technology was amazing—from extra, dedicated cell phone hot spots to a dedicated ACL Festival phone app to keep you informed. And don’t forget the introduction of “ACL Cashless” built right into your wristband. It’s a new easy way for you to pay for food, merchandise and more on-site at the Festival. With just the tap of a wrist you can grab a beverage or score your favorite foods without needing to fish out your credit card.

And for you social media junkies out there, well, you would be happy to know that ACL is on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. The Festival also has its own blog.

But there’s a downside, in my opinion, to being so connected via social media, too. Despite the jaw-dropping energy of all that live music, most Festival-goers were glued to their cell phones, gazing intensely at words and images on their screens instead of engaging with the raw excitement all around them.

We’ve all done it. We’re in the middle of a vibrant social setting, and it happens: That voice in our mind wanders to… Did my friend get back to me on that coffee date? Did my BFF say something funny about my Facebook comment? I should share this photo to my Instagram page. I should tweet about how cool this band is!

In the blink of an eye, our attention to the world around us goes from all to nothing faster than you can say, “Like.”

And it’s not a rare occurrence by far—There’s even a new ABC series, “Selfie,” that has its finger on the pulse of this peculiar trend.

At the Festival, I observed mobile users bouncing into one person after another while walking through the crowd of thousands, like blindfolded pinballs in an arcade game. Their eyes never left their phones! Amazing.

It’s enough to make me wonder—in the end, between the streamlined ease of access it makes possible, and the temptation to plug in solely to our phones instead of our lives… is technology helping us or hurting us? You decide.

by Regina Kubelka

For more information on scoring your tickets to ACL Festival next year:

If you’ve never been, you really gotta go. The 2015 festival dates have already been released. It’s a very satisfying and fun experience, and this year was no exception! Austin played host to music lovers from around the world for two fun-filled weekends.

The best of the best played their music for us in one-hour snippets—including Spoon, Ray Benson, Pearl Jam, Beck, Lorde, St. Vincent, Ozomatli, and Icona Pop. They played from (count ‘em) seven sound stages in one complete venue!





Renee DeLaune

About the Author

Renee DeLaune is the President and Founder of DeLaune and Associates. Her insights on marketing in a variety of industries give a unique perspective on today's communication challenges.

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