In a hyper-connected age when billions of people are coming together online, a small startup based out of Austin is creating a platform to bring people together offline. Everfest is a startup created by two former executives of uShip and the founder of Ticketbud.
Their goal? To catalog and index festivals around the world. How many festivals, you ask? All of them.
Such lofty ambitions come wrapped around an altruistic banner. Within their mission to organize the world’s festivals, the Everfest team is working to create a killer mobile festival app, and they plan on giving it away. To understand how this can be a viable business model, we have to take a step back and define what exactly a festival is.
Festival Capital of America
“The Central Texas area, but particularly Austin, is the festival capital of America,” Paul Cross, one of the founders of Everfest, shared with me. “We aren’t just looking at the big festivals like Austin City Limits and South by Southwest. We want to catalog regional and local festivals like Pecan Street Festival, which actually has a higher attendance than ACL.”
Everfest has a fest test they use to broadly outline the festivals they will catalog, consisting of five categories.
- Celebratory – event must have an ethos of discovery.
- Interactive – event is multi-dimensional and offers various types of activities and stimuli.
- Inclusive – festival should not be discriminatory in any way.
- Offline – event must physically occur in the real world.
- Recurring – festival should be recurring or intend to recur.
The idea to become the ultimate authority on festivals came to Paul after he sold Ticketbud, his former startup, and was traveling through Spain. “There are hundreds of regional festivals in Spain alone, but you only hear about the big ones,” Paul said.
Central Texas is no different. While we have our fair share of mega-festivals like South by Southwest, there are dozens more that cater to a more targeted audience. For example, you have the Texas Bamboo Festival, which aims to bring bamboo enthusiasts together at Zilker Botanical Garden. Or the Austin Edible Book Festival, where fest-goers produce edible works of art based on literary works of art.
How Everfest Works
Everfest is as much about discovery as it is about connecting people. The platform has two primary areas of focus: the organizers of festivals and the actual festival attendees. Each category has very different goals.
For the organizers of festivals, Everfest set out to create the ideal festival app. While many of the larger festivals can afford to create their own dedicated apps, the vast majority barely have their own website. So Everfest offers to license their app to individual festivals at no cost. In return, Everfest taps into a new audience and gains a bigger footprint. The focus of the mobile app is to easily display the event schedule, create a custom and easy-to-navigate map, and allow friends to find one another when data signals may not be their strongest.
The focus for the actual festival-goer is geared towards discovery. Since the inception of Everfest, the team has worked tirelessly to catalog every festival in every country around the world. While they aren’t there yet, what they have been able to catalog is already more comprehensive than anything else available. An impressive feat for such a young startup.
Walk into the Everfest office on a typical day, and you might see a giant bunny costume leaning on a corner or a clown outfit staring ominously. What you won’t find is anyone wearing slacks or a suit. This is still very much a startup. Culture plays a key role in Everfest’s goals as a company and in how it is run.
So why would a small startup based out of Austin bother to create a forum for offline gatherings? Festivals are a way of life here in the Live Music Capital of the World and we have the quality of life to prove it. Or as Everfest puts it:
“Everfest’s core goal is to bring people together physically offline in shared interests. We understand the irony as a tech company, but if we do our jobs right, the connections you make here will turn into experiences you share at festivals all over the world.”
Start discovering at Everfest.com.
@Crafty_Ed wants to know:
What is your favorite festival in the Central Texas area?