The Roskilde Festival, an annual music festival held south of Roskilde in Denmark, is one of the biggest music festivals in Europe and the largest in Northern Europe. The festival, a nonprofit that donates all profits to charity after each festival, supports humanitarian, cultural and non-profit projects all over the world.
During the week, nine stages host more than 180 acts—most of them hip artists. Appearances have included the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Pharrel Williams and Stevie Wonder. The festival is well known for presenting a wide variety of acts in many genres.
130,000 people attend the festival each year, which makes the festival area a short-term village for celebration and fun. There is also a backstage area where artists, media and musicians make connections and forge deals. This all goes down at the Backstage Village, organized by VEGA.
In 2016, festival attendees in total consumed 1 million litres of beer (approximately 264,000 gallons) as well as 30,000 litres (8,000 gallons) of wine and nearly 108,000 kilograms (240,000 pounds) of ice cubes.
In the three bars in the Backstage Village, VEGA sells more than 4.000 litres of beer, as well as sodas, liquor and other beverages. Managing this volume of consumption and accounting for it afterward had become daunting. VEGA needed a lightweight, fully custom app for managing the entire process that would be flexible enough to accommodate the venue’s other uses.
Behind the bar
Previously, VEGA relied on aging PDAs using barcodes to take and fulfill drink orders backstage, but this option proved faulty and unreliable. Also, there was no connectivity to back-end systems, resulting in substantial manual labor. The information about beverage consumption was manually transferred into spreadsheets to calculate inventory, generate invoices for partners and companies or determine how much to deduct from each bartender’s salary when they consumed drinks themselves.
That’s why VEGA contacted FileMaker developer Claus Lavendt of DataManix, a Platinum member of the FileMaker Business Alliance, to create a custom FileMaker app to manage the three bars that provide drinks to the Backstage Village. The terminals, in the future, may also be brought to a wider audience at the Roskilde Festival and other events.
"We want to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere," says Mike Thorsø, chief of bars & logistics at VEGA. "That includes providing fast, friendly service across our bars providing beer, liquor and other beverages, but it also includes precise management of facets such as inventory and employee compensation."
We have 250,000 people visit VEGA every year, and have been awarded as the best concert scene in Europe by several top music publications," says Thorsø. "We attribute a large part of our success to our ability to operate smoothly and provide guests with fast, efficient amenities – all powered by our custom FileMaker apps created by DataManix.
Mike Thorsø, chief of bars & logistics at VEGA
Beverages are purchased throughout the festival using VEGA debit cards.
Bar none bar management
Using the FileMaker Platform, Lavendt created a custom app for iPad that automates the beverage delivery and tracking process from end to end. Individuals or companies use debit or credit cards – with or without limits – for their beverage purchases during the festival at all the bars. The cards make it easy for employees and companies attending the event to manage financials, because they receive a digital invoice afterward.
RFID readers connected to eight fixed iPad terminals across three bars are used to take orders that are transferred to the bartenders for speedy service. The system is highly reliable – there has never been any downtime – and fast. The FileMaker custom app has maintained exceptional connectivity and performance. It works offline and will connect to VEGA's backend system with exceptional connectivity and reliability.
"One thing that is especially important in the bars is performance," says Lavendt. "Thirsty people don't want to wait, and at Roskilde, they certainly do not. The custom FileMaker app can receive 177 presses on different iPad buttons within 51 seconds – with drinks arriving from bartenders shortly afterward. The performance of the custom FileMaker app has improved substantially over the years."
Thirsty festival attendees expect fast service.
Less manual labor, more fun
The iPad and custom FileMaker app for the Backstage Village also tracks hours of bartenders, liquor inventory, and other statistics, feeding them into a back-end FileMaker server that is also integrated with an in-house financial accounting system to automatically generate salaries owed, track inventory and automate other processes.
The previous inventory system, which involved measuring the remaining contents of each liquor bottle and inputting the data into spreadsheets, took approximately three hours per day. Now, by putting bottles on a scale, using barcodes and automatically sending the data to the back-end FileMaker system, it takes about 15 minutes daily.
Other systems in the Backstage Village and other VEGA events automatically track sales of wine and beer and send the numbers via FileMaker to VEGA’s financial accounting system. Behind the scenes, managers use the FileMaker Platform on desktops and laptops to keep everything running smoothly.
In the three bars in the Backstage Village, VEGA sells more than 4.000 litres of beer, as well as sodas, liquor and other beverages.
Rapid development for complex event management
Since Lavendt created the custom FileMaker bar management app, he's gone on to create an event management app for VEGA's venue management system that plans and manages music events for the entire festival. He is also helping VEGA move into managing the venue for commercial events such as product launches or corporate conferences during times when musical acts are not using the space.
"We have 250,000 people visit VEGA every year, and have been awarded as the best concert scene in Europe by several top music publications," says Thorsø. "We attribute a large part of our success to our ability to operate smoothly and provide guests with fast, efficient amenities – all powered by our custom FileMaker apps created by DataManix."