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Radio 1's Big Weekend

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Ben Chapman | 16:00 UK time, Friday, 9 May 2008

Well, the sun is out and that's a good start when it comes to festivals... particularly free festivals.

Radio 1 is counting down to its biggest event of the year - indeed, the biggest free festival in Europe.

I currently feel as though I am at in the epicentre of the storm - although apparently everyone at Radio 1 feels like that.

I'm feeling it particularly keenly. It's my first big gig in this job and the team I am surrounded by is made of seasoned professionals. I am the Interactive Editor for 1Xtra and Radio 1. The team has a track record of delivering innovation around this event across digital platforms - each year we aim to build on the last, and last year's Big Weekend is up for a Sony, so no pressure(!)

The 2007 event was packed full of innovation - an ARG (Augmented Reality Game) produced by Hugh Garry, which saw Radio 1 create a secret game within its broadcast content, across the web and the real world that lured audiences into a game which culminated at the event.

This year Huey has pushed ARG in a different direction offering a consolation prize on the "email we hate to send" telling people that they have not got tickets. It's called Band In Your Hand and uses technology developed by T-Immersion - it has to be seen to be believed.

[Update 2245: Hugh Garry has written about Band In The Hand in detail at the BBC Radio Labs blog.]

Radio 1 and 1Xtra focus on what our audience expect to hear and see in digital spaces. We've had the opportunity to partner with Microsoft to use their Deep Zoom technology (formerly known as Sea Dragon) - it will let us manage the massive amount of images from the weekend and allow our audience to zoom in and out of them all and really zoom in on the detail.

I feel like we are scratching the surface this year. Deep Zoom feels a bit like Google Earth in its application and the mind boggles when you start to mash the two - images with great data sets, tied to video/ audio / maps/ filters - lots of great ideas are bubbling up around festivals and elements of our programming at Radio 1.

1bigweekend.pngThe festival presents us with a massive amount of digital opportunities. We exploit everything we can using all available technology. Anything to get the right content to the right audience at the right time.

Press red on Freeview and we offer you more choices of music performance than last year with multiscreen, go online and watch the performances and experiences of our DJs or... don't come to our site and we'll find ways to give content via your preferred social networks.

Your mobile will offer Twitter feeds, audio downloads, photos, blogs... actually, you know what? I'd better get back to it.

Ben Chapman is Interactive Editor, Radio 1. BBC Audio & Music.


  • Comment number 1.

    Don't forget you can watch it on BBC HD via SkyHD, Virgins V+ and now Freesat!

    You missed a perfect corporate plug there! :)

  • Comment number 2.

    So, what can we watch online and where? Your post doesn't really say and neither does the website...

    And is it really in the public interest to be using Silverlight? I know you love Microsoft, but you could do the same thing with flash... :)

  • Comment number 3.

    Ah, isn't it great even with radio, interactive TV, and the website, there's no way to just watch/listen to each individual stage live. Lovely.

    Obviously, some of this can be blamed on the wonderful restrictions of music companies. I await the day where we'd be able to watch them live, or watch all the performances individually on the website (for a week afterwards, that's generally how it seems to be).

    Or if there is a way of watching it live, it's certainly not obvious enough. I'm pretty sure what I was watching on BBCi wasn't live, and sure the links are live on Radio 1, they're playing earlier performances.

  • Comment number 4.

    I take back a bit of what I said: some of the Big Weekend is being shown live, just not the entire thing... so that's only sort of.

    But I'm glad to see there are videos of entire sets: I just was a bit hasty to criticising that... still, it wasn't obvious that they'd be going up. The lack of a dedicated Videos page (for performances, not DJ TV) probably hurt that a bit.


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