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Firefly Festival Lost and Found

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Firefly Music Festival Welcome sign

Lost something at Firefly in 2019? You can search all the found items by clicking the button below:

Firefly Music Festival Welcome sign

Dover, Delaware’s greatest party. With great partying comes great Lost & Found

What’s the Firefly Music Festival?

You haven’t heard? Well it’s this amazing camping and music festival set in the backdrop of a lush woodland area. Attracting close to 90,000 attendees a day, this music festival brings in renowned headliners and emerging artists. Essentially, its magical and you can find out more here: Firefly Music Festival

What’s the deal with Lost & Found?

Well when you have more than 90,000 people losing their s**t to their favorite artists more often than not they end up losing their actual s**t… Insert Liff Happens… 

We partnered with Firefly to build a better experience around Lost & Found. A very tricky problem since thousands to tens of thousands of items can go missing, they are lost literally everywhere possible, and those items are not immediately found (and sometimes not found at all). 

We were tasked with locating missing items across 105 acres of festival grounds, engage with attendees who are missing items, connecting the two when they match, and recovering the experience if it doesn’t match.

Table of found phones from the Firefly Music Festival
Just phones, while we've returned most let us know if any of these phones are yours

That doesn’t sound that difficult.

Fair point… ass. It’s actually an incredibly complex operation to coordinate with the hundreds of different departments at a music festival, create awareness with all the attendees, manage & track a wide range of found items, locate & verify their owners, and finally attempt to help the unlucky ones piece their lives back together. In summary it’s a lot. 

So much so that we returned $247,197.96 worth of stuff back to their owners (remember Firefly is only 4 days long).

Where did we start?

Our team has had a lot of experience with lost & found, more than 70 major festivals and events, and wow the status quo approach to lost & found is a terrible process.

(Note: Status Quo Lost & Found is a box or collection of items. Status Quo staff response: If its there “cool” and if its not “well that sucks.” That’s about it.)

Typically, it’s not a very fun experience for both the staff and the attendee, since that item has a pretty low chance of being there. Even when it’s eventually found it tends to not be very timely. So if an item goes missing you are going to have to deal with it’s absence for some duration, potentially permanently. 

Ya that’s not great, but what can you do?

Great question. We started by putting our ideas into software to try and crack this problem. We actually did this so much that our CTO has been found asleep mid-coding more than once. See:
Liff Happens Co-founder passed out while coding

What can software do?

A lot. Next question.

But seriously… almost too much. We needed to focus so where to start? Well how do you solve loss? Easy answer is don’t lose it. 

Boom… lets start there. We built out a way to register your phone with Firefly, put a QR code on your screen, and give you tips on how to not lose it. This had the added benefit of if your phone went missing that QR code told the finder where to turn it in. Once we received it then the QR code tells us who you are. So we just texted you… well texted your friend since you lost your phone but same difference. Super easy.

Duh… contacting people is way easier than waiting for them to look!

Ya… we know that now. So we doubled down and began building a process to standardize “logging” of found items, collecting information from consumers seeking items, and finding the owner if they hadn’t shown up yet.
 
A few long development cycles, some sweet tools, important integrations, and 138 text messages to “losers” at Firefly later we soon found that it actually worked. Like worked crazy well too!  

What we learned from 4 days in the Woodlands.

We learned that man’s greatest inventions all exist in a standard household bathroom and also we’ve a lot more work to do! A lot! 

It may have been a bit messy, but then again what startups aren’t. This was a wonderful place to start since the attendee feedback and praise continues to help us build a better experience. We launched, we didn’t die, and we are ready for the next steps. Our next chapter takes us out to Ohio for the Lost Lands Music Festival. 

If you want to learn more or check out what we’re working on take a look at our tools below or follow us on the social feeds.