Austria’s Elevate Festival has announced it is developing a new ticketing app to support the 2021 edition in dealing with COVID-19 security precautions.

The event, which usually welcomes around 10,000 punters in the city of Graz each year, was one of the last festivals that could still take place before the March 2020 lockdown, with this year’s plans still hanging in the balance.

Elevate has received digital funding from the Austrian federal government for the app, with the working title ‘Elev8App’, and the Styria region is also supporting the project.

The team is currently working on a prototype with the aim to keep ticketing as flexible as possible as restrictions and capacity limits are ever-changing.

Daniel Erlacher, founder of Elevate Festival, said in an interview with APA: “We use various open source tools to show how an organiser, in cooperation with the ticket provider, can design ticket management with his own website in times of the Corona.”

Through its partnership with mobile ticketing system Ntry, the festival is looking at ways to implement the required registration and reservation for events with free entry. A web app is to be designed for this purpose that is identical to the website, which allows fans to book tickets, but also for organisers to stream the planned discourse events.

The workflow is then made available to other organisers who do not want to use external providers for free. The ‘construction plan’ includes ticketing, registration for free events, push notifications and the translation of the web app into an Android and iOS app. The code is then made available open source.

“It is not a separate ticket platform, but a prototype that you can build,” said Erlacher. “Our main problem was that we could not do a complete reprogramming in the short time. That is why we decided on a secure solution with an existing identity management program on our own server.”

The platform should also allow ticket holders to return reserved seats so that interested parties on the waiting list can be notified via push message. Fans will also be able to see which seats are already reserved.

Erlacher added: “Our core area is and will remain modern electronic music, we will also play a concert in Graz Cathedral, but of course we will not have a dance floor. The Elevate Festival will have a completely different character. We are preparing for a special edition. Also increased cooperation with FM4 and streaming offers, people should be able to participate in the festival remotely.”

Organisers have estimated the budget for their app prototype to be €50,000, and needs to be ready by mid-February. Erlacher noted that the March edition of the festival is a “test balloon,” with plans to extend the project until autumn.

Image: murdelta / CC BY 2.0 / Edited for size