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Glastonbury Festival begins in earnest today, with music finally getting underway on the main stages, culminating in a headline performance from Arcade Fire on the Pyramid Stage.

Obviously all those lucky festival-goers will actually have been soaking up the atmosphere on Worthy Farm since Wednesday morning, but it’s not until today that things really begin to heat up.

After a run of five consecutive festivals I was unable to attend Glastonbury this year, but that obviously hasn’t stopped me from browsing its website for regular updates.

Therefore I was pleasantly surprised when it ditched its old site and opted for responsive a few weeks ago.

This has inspired me to drown my sorrows by looking at how other festivals stack up online.

Festival websites have relative freedom from many of the usual UX rules, as it pays to have a unique, creative website that invokes the atmosphere and charm of that particular event.

For instance, you wouldn’t want to go on Bestival’s website and be greeted with the kind of stripped down UX that won gov.uk so many plaudits.

So here’s a round up of a few of the best, kicking off with my favourite place on earth. And for more on this topic, read my post on how the Met Office uses content marketing to target people looking for Glastonbury weather updates...

Glastonbury

Ok, so Glastonbury’s homepage has an annoying carousel that doesn’t even fit the screen properly, but don’t let that deter you.

The rest of the site is neatly laid out and easy to navigate. It even includes an excellent map of the festival site, which thankfully doesn’t download as a PDF.

I like the aesthetic of the site as it doesn’t overplay the hippy vibe, but uses attractive imagery and a typewriter-style font that fits with the down-to-earth feel that Glastonbury’s professional, well-oiled machine manages to cultivate.

Just don’t try to buy tickets from this site, because you can’t, they’re all gone...

                  

Bestival

Bestival is a smaller festival that takes place on the Isle of Wight in September. 

Despite its surge in popularity and major headline acts, Bestival manages to retain its reputation as a quirky, boutique festival. 

The landing page serves to build on this image, as it displays an animated earth that includes the festival’s different stages and arenas.

Sharing buttons are dressed up as planets and satellites, while a meteor flies past intermittently.

Upon entering the site you’re slapped in the face with an email pop up which isn’t the best user experience, but overall I really like the site’s design.

Bestival has a different theme each year – this time round it’s ‘desert island disco’, and the website certainly adheres to this style.

Everything is bright, glittery and where possible, animated. You see that disco ball the puffins are sat on? Well it spins around.

Thankfully, UX hasn’t been entirely overlooked in favour of visual impact, and you can still easily find out all the necessary information.

If you do visit this site, I highly recommend that you check out the ‘Areas’ section, which feature wonderful animations of the different stages.

What could be more appealing than an animated Nile Rodgers on a disco stage with a convoy of little cars scrolling across the bottom of your screen?

Hideout

Croatia’s Hideout Festival has a really cool homepage featuring video footage of festival-goers partying in the sun.

The scenes of people living it up on the Dalmatia coast are captivating and kept me entertained for several minutes.

The site is fairly easy to navigate and includes some nice UX touches, such as the below ticket stubs.

And though it’s not responsive, Hideout does have a serviceable mobile site, though the buttons are a bit small.

Secret Garden Party

There’s much to dislike about the Secret Garden Party site, such as the small fonts, poor navigation and auto-play music.

But I really like the homepage animation, which is apparently based on the theme of ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’.

Green Man

Though Green Man has a rather splendid mobile site, you need to visit the desktop version to view it in all its glory.

The homepage is a giant scrollable canvas with a collage of strange shapes and animated images. Some of them even work as navigational buttons, not that you’d realise.

Users have to click and drag the screen - which moves up, down, left and right - to discover different elements. It’s a really beautiful site and offers a unique user experience.

Latitude

Like Glastonbury, Latitude Festival seems to have recently updated its site to adopt responsive design.

It now has a rather attractive scrolling site with massive images of its headliners and other attractions.

Away from the beautiful homepage, much of the event information is housed within dropdown menus that mean it all fits perfectly on your screen, regardless of the devices.

In terms of overall UX, Latitude definitely offers the best experience of the sites on this list.

                    

David Moth

Published 27 June, 2014 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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