Last summer we were lucky enough to test our instagrid portable battery system at two music festivals. We were eager to know what it is like to build an event, and how instagrid could help in streamlining the production process. After all, building large music festivals is one of the most complex and time-critical installations works there is. The festival production company ensures the availability of the electric grid on the site. After that, numerous sub-contractor companies do their bit, installing equipment around the area. Everything has to be ready before the visitors enter the area and the stars take the stage. There is no room for error in the events business, as being late or pushing the deadline further is not an option.
Working long shifts and having sleepless nights seems to be the way to meet the deadline – but could there be a better solution?
To find out how the instagrid portable power could help at festivals we gave it for a test to Helppari Oy, a company installing networks and cashless payment systems in festival areas. We tested the devices in two different settings at the Flow Festival in Helsinki and the Blockfest festival in Tampere. Both of the festivals are set in an urban environment, in the middle of the city, and in both locations, Helppari was responsible for building the networks for payment stations and security gates.
Flow Festival – powering a link station in an off-grid location
Named as the Nordic countries’ coolest music festival by the US Vogue magazine, the festival welcomes more than 80 000 visitors each year. The visitors have become accustomed to being pampered not only with the trendiest urban music gigs but even with a wide selection of gourmet food and drinks. Each year Flow Festival invites tens of the best restaurants in town to run their food stalls, providing the hungry visitors with a unique selection of delicious dishes.
Even though the Flow Festival is a city festival, located in central Helsinki, the event grounds pose a challenge. The event takes place at an inactive Suvilahti power plant and its industrial surroundings. The festival electric grid does not extend across the entire area. This creates blind spots, especially for network coverage.
This was a problem Helppari’s Antti Soisalo wanted to solve with the help of an instagrid portable battery system. The company was in charge of providing the network for payments for a catering company – including the mobile carts selling beer and cider. The availability of the network ensures that the mobile payments go through, and the blind spots in the network created a challenge. After all, given the opportunity to buy a drink from a mobile cart, people would expect that they can pay for their drink anywhere in the festival area. Each time the payment system malfunctions, it means a lost sale for the catering company.
To tackle this challenge, Antti installed an extra link tower, powered by instagrid portable power supply. The network coverage was widened, and there were no more blind spots. The mobile carts could operate anywhere around the festival area without worrying about dropping out of the network.
Blockfest – installing cashless payment systems at any location
Blockfest, a music festival dedicated to hip-hop music, is located at Tampere stadium and its surroundings. The festival operates completely cashless, with visitors gaining access and registering their payments with wristbands. Sami Vauhkonen from Helppari was responsible for installing solutions for cashless payments and access control by PlayPass for the festival. The access gates are equipped with boxes containing NFC readers and a small display, and the test with instagrid was made to power these gates.
According to Sami, the planning of entrances for the festival became much easier with instagrid battery, especially for the entrances located inside the festival area, such as VIP gates. Normally, Helppari would need to compromise on location and install the gates where the electricity is. With instagrid solution Sami was able to choose where to put the access gates by getting the needed electricity from the instagrid battery.
“What we noticed when testing instagrid is, that it adds a lot of flexibility into the planning of the area.” – Sami Vauhkonen
Being able to plan the access gates based on the convenience of customer flow was extremely useful for Helppari, but it wasn’t the only benefit that they noticed while testing instagrid battery.
Ditch the grid – take the electricity anywhere you might need it
“With the help of instagrid, we were able to test all of our installations and network already before the main electricity was switched on at the festival site.” -Sami Vauhkonen
When building up festival networks, Helppari comes across always with the same problem: they are missing electricity in the correct places where they would need it. Often, this will reflect back of their schedule: overtime working and those sleepless nights right before the festival. With portable battery electricity, Helppari can have the needed electricity in any place of the festival, and in addition test their main links and networks in advance. Normally, they need to wait for the main electricity of the festival to be provided a day before, which means they can’t do their tests before the day before the festival. “In most cases, getting the access to electricity a day before is too late for us, and especially if there is any problem, it means once again a night without sleep, so here instagrid solution helps us a lot”, Sami Vauhkonen states.
“We benefited from the fact that instagrid was so compact and easy to carry, we just had it in the back of the service car.” – Sami Vauhkonen
Summary – instagrid battery test with Helppari Oy
The power capacity of instagrid battery easily covered the demand for one festival day
Flexibility in the workflow and independence from the grid saved a sleepless night
Portability brought efficiency – instagrid battery was simple to move around the festival area, wherever the electricity might be needed
The IoT connectivity of the battery system brought extra convenience – Helppari had the ability to see the status of the devices remotely
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