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Live Nation Entertainment is the world’s leading live entertainment company. It produces 40,000+ shows and 100+ festivals annually. To improve fan, vendor, and staff experiences at BottleRock Napa Valley 2021, Live Nation deployed a groundbreaking Wi-Fi 6 network using Cisco technologies.
Customer Name: Live Nation Entertainment
Location: Beverly Hills, California
Number of Employees: 44,000
● Provide ubiquitous, high-performance Wi-Fi for festival attendees, vendors, and staff
● Support thousands of concurrent users across expansive festival grounds
● Prioritize applications, services, and users to optimize network performance
● Seamlessly supported 23,300 unique users, including attendees, vendors, and staff
● Transferred 22 TB of data without performance degradations
● Improved the festival experience for 88 percent of network users
Part of the Live Nation festival portfolio, BottleRock Napa Valley 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 create an authentic, first-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.”
The 2021 iteration of BottleRock featured more than 80 bands on five music stages. Celebrity performances and chef demonstrations were showcased on a culinary stage. Dozens of wine cabanas allowed attendees to sip and mingle with their favorite vintners. And for the first time in its eight-year history, BottleRock provided free, festival-wide Wi-Fi for attendees and vendors.
“We’ve 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 this year we had the right partner in Cisco. With their help, we deployed the first Wi-Fi 6 network to be offered at any Live Nation event, and it had a significant impact on the fan and vendor experience.”
BottleRock’s wireless network was built with more than 50 Cisco Catalyst switches and 182 crowd-facing Cisco Catalyst Access Points (APs), including the new Cisco Catalyst 9104 Stadium Antennas and Cisco Catalyst 9124AX outdoor APs. The network delivered 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 performed flawlessly.
“The fact that we didn’t hear anything about Wi-Fi going down is one of my favorite memories from this year’s festival,” Scoggins says, “because it was a concern going into it.”
The network was monitored and managed with Cisco DNA 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 had no problem supporting both attendees as well as vendors.”
The Wi-Fi 6 network supported 23,300 unique visitors and transferred 22 TB of data without any performance degradations during BottleRock Napa Valley 2021.
“With a seamless connection across the festival grounds, attendees were able to reach out to their friends and share videos and photos on social media,” Scoggins says. “It really enhanced their experience, and for us, that type of connectivity and sharing is marketing you can’t buy.”
A poll taken at the festival showed 83 percent of users were happy or very happy with the Wi-Fi, and 88 percent said Wi-Fi improved their festival experience.
The network was also an essential enabler of back-of-house operations and vendor-driven attendee engagement. More than 60 percent of network users received push notifications during the festival.
“It was amazing to connect thousands and thousands of fans and still have our back-of-house operations working seamlessly,” Scoggins says. “The network helped enhance the performance of our point-of-sale systems, which kept concession lines moving. And it facilitated all of the communication between our vendors and staff.
A Cisco Wi-Fi 6 network will be prominently featured at BottleRock Napa Valley 2022. 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, 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.”
“Our critical operations in venues and at festivals ultimately rests on a strong network infrastructure.”
- Jon Glickstein
Senior Vice President, Enterprise Partnerships, Live Nation Entertainment