Replay the best of your favourite fest

A new tool makes playlists of festival line-ups, and makes a few bold claims

 

It’s probably a little too soon for you to be reliving your Electric Picnic experience, but once you’ve sufficiently recovered you might want to check out this new interactive tool.

Festival Playlister allows punters to search for festivals around the world, and then generates playlists based on the acts that performed there. The nifty bit of tech is powered by travel company Expedia, with help from Spotify and Songkick. It uses Songkick’s Application Programme Interface (API) to get the line-up of each festival and then pulls the artists’ tracks from Spotify.

The interface is a little basic but a recent search for Electric Picnic gave us playlists all the way back to 2004 (which features lots of Groove Armada, Mylo, Soulwave and Arrested Development). It also gives you the option of selecting the hits or the obscure stuff, by taking the acts’ most popular and least popular songs.

The tool also claims to know how “mainstream” each festival is. The approach behind this is seems quite blunt: it uses the popularity of each artist on Spotify: “The more popular the artist, the more mainstream the festival.” In 2004 it reckoned Electric Picnic was 44 per cent mainstream, and reckoned this had risen to 59 per cent by this year, its highest level in the song survey. It seems to be using current Spotify statistics though, rather than contemporaneous figures (and, in fairness, Spotify was only developed in 2006): so, for example, bands on early billings may have been very popular at the time, but their relative importance has faded over the years.

It does, however, raise an interesting question of whether the festival has veered towards safer acts. It’s an easy case to make around the headliners, but with more than 700 acts and 2,000 performers over the weekend, there were plenty of smaller gems to be found. We can imagine that Julia Jacklin, Talos and Rejjie Snow have had hordes of new people searching out their material after their outstanding performances.

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