Family Faux Festivals ish-via Clashfinder

However many weeks we are into lockdown by now, we’ve been dabbling in various distributed family entertainments, from quizzes to online escape rooms. We’ve also already missed two festivals — Bearded Theory and the Isle of Wight Festival — with more to not come: Rhythm Tree, Festival at the Edge and Beautiful Days.

When we do go to festivals, I tend to prep by checking out the relevant Clashfinder site, listening to a couple of tracks from every band listed, figuring out which bands I intend to see and printing off enough copies of the Clashfinder listing to have spares..

With no festivals upcoming, I floated the idea we programme our own faux festival on the Clashfinder site, with each person getting two stages to programme as desired: a mid-size one and a smaller one.

Programming on the Clashfinder site means adding an act to a stage at a particular time and for a particular duration; you can optionally add various bits of metadata, such as the band’s name, homepage, or a Youtube video:

In the setup page for the particular Clashfinder site, you can enable automatic tagging: the system will try to identify the act and automatically add MusicBrainz metadata and generate relative links from it. Alternatively, you can disable this feature and the links you provide will be used as the link destinations:

On the public page for the festival, hovering over an act pops up dialogue that lets you click through on any added links, such as any Youtube link you may have added:

As well as the graphical editor there is also a text editing option, which gives you more of a data centric view:

You can also export the data as CSV, Excel, JSON, XML etc. There’s also an Excel import facility.



One of the things I pondered was whether I could knock up a thing that would play out the festival in real time, or “as if” realtime, where you pretend it’s a particular day of festival and play out the videos in real time as if it were that day.

Here’s my first attempt:

It’s a single web page app that uses the data (manually copied over at the moment) from the Clashfinder site and lets you view the festival in real time or as-if real time.

The broadcast model is false. The client web page checks the time and if an act is on at that time the video will play. If there’s no act scheduled at any particular time, you get a listing for that stage for that day with a line through the acts you’ve missed.

Ideally, you want to schedule videos that are not part of a playlist. If a video is in a playlist, then when a video finishes, the next video seems to autoplay, which is a real pain, if your scheduled slot extends more that a few seconds past the end time of the video…

(Hmm… I wonder, could you set an end time past the end of the video to see if that pauses autoplay of the next item in the playlist? Or maybe pass in a playlist with a dummy video, perphaps relating to your faux festival to play in the immediate aftermath og an act video whilst still in their scheduled slot time?)

On the to do list is a simple templated github repo that lets you submit a Clashfinder URL as an issue and it will then build and publish your site for you (eg using using something akin to this proof-of-concept approach) using Github Pages.

This approach would work equally for scheduling faux conferences, schools programming, etc. The content play out is synchronised and locally pulled, rather than broadcast. If you want to get social, use whatever social networking channel you prefer.

Essentiall, it’s using Clashfinder to schedule the play out of stage based Youtube playlists.

Note that if there’s a bunch of you scheduling things on the same Clashfinder event, there are no locks, so you need to refresh and update regularly or you could find that stale page you’ve had open in edit mode for the last three days and then make a single typo change to has wiped out the hundreds of commits the rest of your gang has made over the previous three days.

There’s lots of fettling I still want to do to the template page, but even in its cirrent bare bones state, it sort of works…

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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