Harbour Festival

The University of Bristol's Smart Internet Lab were part of a consortium bringing tech innovation at Bristol Harbour Festival in July 2019, giving visitors a 360° view of all three stages on their smartphones.

Led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), the £9.2M 5G Smart Tourism project used live streaming of 360° camera footage to test the use of 5G technology at scale in a festival setting.

Technical Features 


The best view for festival goers 

Festival goers were encouraged to access the 360° footage via the University of Bristol’s 5GUK Test Network.  A secret performance was staged twice during the festival, exclusively for viewers of the 360° footage.  The secret performance brought the best of Bristol to the screen with a range of acts performing for the cameras.

Visitors to the festival were able to access the 360° live streams by going to their WIFI settings and choosing ‘harbour360’ and visiting festival360.uk.  It was completely free and only accessible to festival goers in Millennium Square and Amphitheatre.

There was a Smart Futures marquee at the festival in Millennium Square, which gave visitors the chance to find out more about the project, access the 360° footage and use VR headsets.

After the festival, the 360° the footage was stored within the Bristol City Council archives creating a unique record of the city’s vibrant culture.

Innovation to improve public safety and accessibility

At certain times during the festival, the 5G network was ‘sliced’ to simulate the use of the network as a robust communications channel for the emergency services during a public safety emergency, while maintaining live streaming of high-quality video footage for users.

The use of 360° cameras across the festival site also supported the Harbour Festival’s application for gold standard ‘Attitude is Everything’ award (improving deaf and disabled people’s access to live music).  By capturing 360° footage of key routes into the festival, it provided disabled visitors with valuable information to make choices about how best to access and move around the festival site.

This focus on public safety and accessibility provided valuable insights for other cities and events.

Part of a Smart Region approach

The 5G Smart Tourism project is led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), and part-funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. 

This extension of the 5G Smart Tourism initiative is being delivered by a consortium led by West of England Combined Authority with partners: Bristol Futures Global; University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab; Digital Catapult; Zeetta Networks; Mativision; Bristol City Council; Bristol Is Open; Destination Bristol and Bristol Harbour Festival.

For 360° footage highlights of last year’s Bristol Harbour Festival, visit https://youtu.be/f9CbhYRy7sQ

Edit this page