This post was written by We Are Freak – a creative studio specialising in visual, audio and interactive design
The V&A is home to the Glastonbury Festival Archive, an extraordinary collection of objects, sounds, sights and memories that encapsulate Glastonbury Festival. To open up the archive and bring it to life, we collaborated with digital agency We Are Freak to develop a fully immersive and interactive map of the Festival.
As well as giving access to the archive, allowing visitors to examine and experience hundreds of digital exhibits, part of the challenge was to depict the actual space itself – the topography, the aesthetic and physicality of the Festival, as well as its metamorphosis and expansion across the 50 years since its inception.
From the outset, our ambition was to create an experience that catered for two distinct types of visitor. Firstly, we considered recreational visitors, who would like to browse and explore the sights and sounds of Glastonbury Festival – we wanted their experience to be fun, entertaining and engaging. Equally, we wanted to create something with research-focused visitors in mind – academics, journalists, historians – and felt that they should be able to use this as tool to aid their work. So, there was a delicate balance to be struck here between entertaining and informative – fun and functional, with something for everyone. In this respect, we hoped it would reflect the ambitions of real-life exhibitions at the V&A. This of course meant it had to be broad in its scope and ability to scale, housing the huge digital archive now and in the future.
In each case, what was of utmost importance to us was that we delivered a seamless and intuitive user experience that was imbued throughout with the spirit of Glastonbury Festival, with all due reverence and respect to its celebrated cultural status, as well as its particular meaning and significance to the Freak team.
From a purely technical perspective we wanted to prioritise making the application accessible to as many people as possible by utilising in-browser technology rather than delivering the experience via a downloadable application – this was one of the most significant challenges to overcome. We found ourselves entering unchartered territory and pushing the limits of what could be achieved, especially within a mobile-optimised web application.
In the end, we were proud to deliver a progressive web application, built in 3.JS using a Nuxt framework, and featuring a topologically accurate, fully 3D representation of Glastonbury Festival across the five major iterations of its existence from the 1970s through to today. This was painstakingly reproduced from satellite and ordinance data, and through referencing the many pictures, images and maps of the Festival across the years. The maps serve as interactive interfaces from which the visitor can seamlessly explore the V&A’s Glastonbury Festival digital archive – over 500 pieces of content (and counting), on what we hope to be an ever-expanding depository of digital content for many years to come.
We are extremely proud to have collaborated with the V&A team to develop this application, and we are excited to share this with the world. We hope it can provide a source of fun, inspiration and information for many years to come.
Interactive design development