Live Nation Entertainment is turning up the fan experience and connecting us all.
The world's live entertainment leader produces more than 40,000 shows and 100 festivals annually. To improve the experience at BottleRock Napa Valley, it deployed a groundbreaking Cisco Wi-Fi 6 network.
Industry: Sports, media, and entertainment
Location: Beverly Hills, California
Size: 44,000 employees
BottleRock Napa Valley, part of the Live Nation festival portfolio, is more than a showcase for the world's top musical acts. It also features the region's finest wines, food, and craft brews, helping to create an authentic, world-class experience that embodies the luxury and ethos of California wine country.
"BottleRock has been around since 2013 and has gained a reputation for being one of the most premium festivals in the world," says Jason Scoggins, chief revenue officer of Latitude 38 Entertainment, which produces BottleRock Napa Valley. "People expect a VIP experience when they come to Napa, and we pride ourselves in delivering that kind of experience within the festival grounds."
BottleRock regularly features more than 80 bands on five music stages. Celebrity performances and chef demonstrations are showcased on a culinary stage. Dozens of wine cabanas allow attendees to sip and mingle with their favorite vintners. And so, it only made sense that in 2021, BottleRock tapped Cisco to help it become the first Live Nation event to deploy a free, festival-wide Wi-Fi 6 network for attendees and vendors.
"We had the opportunity to do Wi-Fi in the past but were always very reluctant to do so. It's not an easy lift for our production team to put together," Scoggins explains. "But we have the right partner in Cisco. With their help, we deploy a Wi-Fi 6 network that has a significant impact on the fan and vendor experience."
BottleRock's wireless network is built with more than 50 Cisco network switches and 182 crowd-facing Cisco wireless access points, including Cisco Catalyst 9104 Stadium Antennas and Cisco Catalyst 9124AX Series access points. The network delivers all of the benefits of Wi-Fi 6, including higher data rates, more network capacity, reduced latency, and improved power efficiency compared to previous iterations of the wireless standard.
According to festival organizers, the network performs flawlessly.
"The fact that we don't hear anything about Wi-Fi going down is one of my favorite parts about the festival," Scoggins says, "because that isn't the case for other festivals."
The network is monitored and managed with Cisco Catalyst Center, a powerful controller and management dashboard that helps prioritize applications, services, and users to optimize network performance.
"One of our biggest fears in doing fan-facing Wi-Fi was how it would impact our point-of-sale and back-of-house operations," Scoggins says. "But the network has no problem supporting both attendees as well as vendors."
“Our critical operations in venues and at festivals ultimately rests on a strong network infrastructure.”Jon Glickstein, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Partnerships
The Wi-Fi 6 network supports tens of thousands of unique visitors and annually transfers more than 30 TB of data without any performance degradations during BottleRock Napa Valley.
"With a seamless connection across the festival grounds, attendees are able to reach out to their friends and share videos and photos on social media," Scoggins says. "It really enhances their experience, and for us, that type of connectivity and sharing is marketing you can't buy."
A poll taken at past festivals showed 83% of users were happy or very happy with the Wi-Fi, and 96% said Wi-Fi improved their festival experience.
The network is also an essential enabler of back-of-house operations and vendor-driven attendee engagement. More than 60% of network users typically receive push notifications during the festival.
"It has been amazing to connect thousands and thousands of fans and still have our back-of-house operations working seamlessly," Scoggins says. "The network helps enhance the performance of our point-of-sale systems, which keep concession lines moving. And it facilitates all of the communication between our vendors and staff.
A Cisco Wi-Fi 6 network will continue to be a prominent feature at BottleRock Napa Valley on an annual basis. And according to event organizers, the technology has helped establish a new benchmark for which other festivals should strive.
"At the end of the day, creating experiences is what festival promoters are always thinking about," Scoggins says. "Cisco Wi-Fi 6 really changed the game for us, and I think it's going to set the bar for years to come."
"Our critical operations in venues and at festivals ultimately rests on a strong network infrastructure," says Jon Glickstein, the senior vice president of enterprise partnerships at Live Nation Entertainment. "Cisco has not only provided that infrastructure, but they've also helped us innovate as the needs of our fans, artists, and company evolve."