iRoots 'N' Blues? Barbecue festival introduces smartphone application for fans

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | 6:12 p.m. CDT; updated 6:29 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 29, 2010

COLUMBIA — Roots, and blues and barbecue and smartphone apps.

It's so 2010.


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This year's Roots 'N' Blues 'N' BBQ Festival has created free applications to give iPhone and Android smartphone users instant information and maps during the festival.

Only the iPhone application is available at the moment, but festival coordinators said the Android application will be available by Thursday evening at the latest.

"We've been wanting to have a mobile app for some time now, and it's exciting that it finally happened," said Jessica Brown, an intern at Thumper Entertainment, the firm that coordinates the festival. "I just think it's the coolest thing ever."

The app features an itinerary of all the scheduled performances on each of the festival's stages. It allows users to create their own schedule of the groups they want to see, and also includes a brief biography of each band or artist.

Brown said the biographies are an especially useful feature for fans because "we like to bring in a lot of the best artists you've never heard of."

The application features several interactive maps that will help fans navigate through the festival downtown.  There is also a map that shows all the local businesses. Nicole Thieret, the manager of the music division at Thumper Entertainment, said that feature would be especially useful for those new to Columbia.

"We're bringing all of these people downtown, and so we want them to really get to enjoy Columbia and The District and get a feel for the city," she said.

But can it tell you where the portable toilets are located? Thieret grabbed her phone to show a reporter how that feature would work. Turned out, developers didn't quite get to it.

Maybe next year.

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