Lost and Found at the Festival

On-site at a music festival can be a pretty wild place, so wild that Lost and Found is an all too regular stop.

Even though losing something can be a common occurrence, life at a music festival turns that experience up to 11 for consumers. A well run Lost and Found is often a downright lifesaver.

Coachella Festival Gif

Lost and Found in the News

Lost and Found is such a common experience that it’s a regular story in the news. We still don’t know why but thought it might be interesting to point out.

Coachella Lost and Found Headlines

Step .5- Lose Something

So you’ve lost your phone. Well… you and a heck of a lot of other people. 

Lost and Found is a story of spurts, lots of found stuff and people show up to the Lost and Found tent at festivals. The tricky bit is timing, as the right thing and the right person often don’t turn up simultaneously.

Liff phone labels

Step 1- Handling the Deluge of Found Stuff

The Found part of this process is chaos. From fake limbs to cell phones, anything a person might carry can be and will be lost; you’ve seen those lazy news stories about “this is what we found in the Lost and Found.”

Processing incoming found property, organizing it in a sensible way, and constantly searching the inventory when people come a-calling can be an exhaustingly tricky process.

Taking some time on that logging process can lead to a lot of big gains later on. 

Logging with Labels

Being in the Lost and Found game for over five years, it’s shocking the sound of a printed label is so satisfying. But that little label is instrumental, plus music to your ears on its own. No more:

  • “Did this get logged?!?!?”
  • Losing items in the lost and found. (pretty embarrassing).
  • Mixing up the found property, or even returning stuff to the wrong person.


There’s a bit of an art when it comes to logging Lost and Found items, called categories. Well, not art, more like opinion. 

Categories are essential. You’re trying to quickly sort the incoming property to make those future thousands of searches much easier. So don’t go crazy on the categories, or you’ll be doing more harm than good. 

Discovery and Verification

The goal is to return. Ideally, as quickly and effortlessly as possible. When inputting information about the found property, you’re looking for the minimum amount of info to help get the item discovered and then verify the owner is who they say they are. No need to go too deep into their personal business (got to respect that p-biz).

Categories can be great to guide what information is important to get from specific items and to keep it standardized. Then slap that label on it and put those items together.

Ringing the bell

Step 2- Searching what's been Lost

It’s there; you check it out, ring the bell, and we never want to see you again. You’ve learned your Lost and Found lesson and are more responsible going forward.

Alternatively, and for a large majority of consumers, it will take more than one try. Timing is a tricky business with Lost and Found since the ‘finding’ part can be just as chaotic as the ‘losing’ part.

At the point of inquiry, the Lost and Found team at the festival looks through all the found stuff every time someone asks. Item organization plays a significant role in making this process easy; without it, the search becomes more like the needle and haystack saying, but it’s a needle stack, and glass from broken phone screens has a much higher infection rate…


Instead, save yourself the hassle by keeping everything in order and easy to scan over. It won’t hurt if you have all the sweet search tools, like a keyword or visual inventory, from the Liff App.

Step 1.5- You missed a step

The found stuff showed up; it’s been logged and has that handsome label. Why are you waiting for the customer to look for it?

For a lot of found stuff, you can find the owners and tell them to come get their stuff. Lost and Found processes with proactive matching is the best, we talked about using Match Mode at Coachella and it’s even better with the new Front Gate Tickets integration. Have your customers skip the lines, the anxiety, and get more of that stuff back (bell ringing is at the discretion of the lost and found manager).

Step 3- Be Persistent

Lost and Found is a process of will. Far too many times has a person comes looking for their lost {{name something you value}}, and it shows up right after they left, yet they never check back again. It’s frustrating for us, to say the least, and has to suck for the consumers. 

Now, most people would say, “why don’t you just take their info down and tell let them know when their thing shows up?”

To which I respond, “um… that’s a lot harder than you’d think that would be with only one of me and 10,000 of you asking.”

Most of the time, the consumer is told to check back later, which isn’t a great experience. Instead, we suggest splitting the difference.

Make it easy for the consumer to keep checking with very low disruption to their experience, and if anything shows up, that can be matched by some sweet technology to make it a heck of a lot easier.

Item Alerts

Get updates on found stuff sent right to your inbox. Helps the consumer stay connected to the process and virtually check back in on a regular basis. If you stuff shows up then stop by to get it. Boom, done.


This post might have gotten away from me, so there’s a lot of pressure to wrap it up with a good summary. 

  1. Customers go to events for a good time
  2. Losing an item is the opposite of a good time.
  3. Losing something happens a lot.
  4. If you value customer experience, you should have a game plan to handle lost and found at your music festival. 

Nailed it! If you need Lost and Found planning help, give me a shout below: 

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