Welly academic imagines Glastonbury music festival in 2050

Prof Ian Yeoman

Seeing a 3D hologram version of Elvis perform at music festivals of the future is no freakish sci-fi vision of the future, says Victoria University Associate Professor Ian Yeoman.

The British-born futurologist, who specialises in travel and tourism, says virtual experiences like these are set to become the norm as technology improves to make a hologram performance look, feel and sound even better than the real thing.

“Right now the best scientists in the world are working with global technology giants to devise technologies that will revolutionise the entertainment industry and completely transform how we experience leisure,” he says.

Professor Yeoman is about to publish research on the topic in a new book called The Future of Events and Festivals.

“In my research, I predict a quantum leap in how consumers spend their downtime. We’re about to see the stuff of science fiction become reality through ground-breaking technologies like Samsung’s mind-reading tablet and Google Glass.”

Professor Yeoman’s research takes a dozen examples of the new ‘play’ technologies and applies them to the Glastonbury festival, which opens in the United Kingdom today, decades into the future, using a method known as scenario planning.

He envisions concert-goers using mind control technology to order food and drink and wearing digital clothing to enhance the sensory effect of a stage performance.

In his ultra-modern scenario, 25-year-old Bridgette Wilson uses a high-tech gadget to record a show as she watches it, remix it with music from the internet and, finally, imbue it with real human emotions.

“I focus on Glastonbury in 2050 for a couple of reasons. First, data shows the festival is becoming more and more popular—evidence that people are continuing to seek out authentic, immersive social experiences.

“Second, we’re seeing people increasingly use experiences like Glastonbury to build up their cultural capital, to express their sense of identity and to tell stories about themselves.

“We know today’s Glastonbury audience wants escape, fun and fantasy. But we also know they’re using smartphones and social media to connect with other people while they’re immersed in their experience and to interact with, and critique, the event in real time.”

Professor Yeoman says that as the world’s largest, most iconic music festival, any change in audience behaviour at Glastonbury is relevant to the travel and tourism industries worldwide.

Professor Yeoman’s research also looks at the emerging technology of digital tattoos.

“They’re mini computers that never need recharging because they are implanted beneath the skin and powered by converting the oxygen and glucose of your bloodstream into energy.

“In my scenario, a concert-goer would use their digital tattoo to send messages and upload images of the concert to the internet—as someone might do using a smartphone today.”


Professor Yeoman and Dr Karen Smith, a Senior Lecturer in Victoria’s School of Management, will give a free public lecture at 12.30pm today on the future of events and festivals. The lunchtime lecture coincides with the opening of this year’s Glastonbury festival in the UK.

Date: Wednesday 26 June
Time: 12.30pm
Venue: Victoria University Pipitea Campus, Rutherford House, Level 12 Boardroom, 23 Lambton Quay, Wellington


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The event industry has been able to project holograms for sometime.

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I predict that in the future, people will be able to upload news and information as it happens, from where they are, to a globa- ... oh, wait.

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I predect in the future we'll be able to time travel and see Elvis perform live. Who cares?

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