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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jazz Festival introduces smartphone app to draw younger audiences

App and social media will keep fans up to date on happenings at the Elkhart Jazz Festval

Posted on June 16, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on June 16, 2013 at 6:50 p.m.

ELKHART — Planning your visit to the Elkhart Jazz Festival next week?

There’s an app for that.

Festival co-chairman David Smith says the official Elkhart Jazz Festival application will soon be available to download for free to Apple and Android devices.

“We decided to do an app in early February,” Smith said, adding that this first year will be a “growth year” as organizers figure out how to most effectively market the app and work out any bugs.

The app, which will be available before the festival opens on Friday, June 21, includes a wide array of features to help tech-savvy jazz enthusiasts get the most of out the event.

Some jazz festivals have “three years and they’re done,” Smith said, as the older audience that frequents jazz festivals thins.

In an effort to attract a younger audience, some jazz festivals have started booking artists who don’t play jazz at all as headliners.

“We recognized the need to engage a younger audience and in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the traditional base of the festival,” Smith said. “Other genres don’t have this problem because they naturally draw a younger audience.”

The app provides easy access to information on artists and venues with interactive maps and schedules, as well as connections to social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“Social media is the future of marketing,” Smith said. “It allows us to engage with a younger audience.”

The app was developed by CrowdTorch, a company that has created apps for other music festivals including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Smith said.

The app includes a biography of each artist with links to the artists’ websites and social media pages, along with videos of past performances.

The interactive event schedule can be sorted by day or venue and allows users to search for specific artists. There is also an option to set reminders to alert users 15 minutes before an event is due to start.

The “coming soon” events tab shows all performances scheduled to begin in the next two hours.

There’s even the option to purchase tickets on the app.

If visitors want to take a break from the festival, the “city guide” feature suggests other activities and events available during the jazz festival, along with local restaurant specials, downtown businesses and their hours and local Sunday church services where some Jazz Festival artists will perform.

The app’s “news” section links to the Elkhart Jazz Festival Instagram and YouTube pages for photo and video updates during the festival.

Users can also take their own photos within the app, apply filters and effects and upload them directly to their personal Facebook page.

Facebook and Twitter updates can also be posted through the app.

A blue news ticker will scroll along the bottom of the app’s orange background with updates from festival organizers.

“If we find out an artist is going to sit in on another artist’s set or if they’re going to perform together, we can let people know immediately (on the news ticker),” Smith said.

The Elkhart Truth will also publish updates throughout the festival on elkharttruth.com and on social media.

Follow Jazz Festival 2013 news and updates from the Elkhart Truth on Twitter (@ElkhartTruth ) and Instagram (@elkharttruth). Updates will be posted using the hashtag #elkjazz.

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