Hackthons began surfacing in 1999 after a group of developers came together to avoid legal problems they were facing. The often weekend long events have since become more widespread and are applicable in a number of industries, including one that New Orleans and its natives are known for: music.
Last year, New Orleanian Travis Laurendine producer the first ever hackathon at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Hackeroo, designed to bring people together to build fan-generated content applications for fans and musicians. The second annual event took place last weekend (May 10 and 11) at Nashville, Tennessee.
“These festivals, they are new gatekeepers, where people go to find out about bands and experience the music in real life,” said Laurendine. “Opening up these festivals to technology and innovation and hacking is only going to get us closer to the future of music.”
Participants, who ranged from developers and designers to creatives and entrepreneurs, formed teams and hacked away for a chance to win VIP passes to the festival along with prizes that included $2,500 cash from Launch Tennessee, an organization committed to making Tennessee the number one place in the Southeast to start and grow a business, four Pebble watches from sponsor Braintree, a year of free hosting from Rackspace and incubation by executives and free office space courtesy of Aloopma.
Acting as host and mentor to the participants throughout the weekend, Laurendine was joined by judges including Sarah Lacy from Pando.com, Kerry Black from Superfly, Mark Montgomery from Flo Thinkery, Drew Burchfield from Aloompa, Boone Vires and Neeley Rice from Bonnaroo, Kelley Boothe from Southern Alpha and a surprise musician judge.
Laurendine said, “Hackeroo Part Deux was done better than last year and we are so ahead of the festival that the attendees can expect a fully functioning app that literally makes people dreams come true. I can’t wait to see this through at Bonnaroo and Southland Conference and I’m very grateful to Superfly and AC entertainment for allowing us to innovate their festival.”