In the modern days of the internet and mobile, people can generate an astounding amount of data. And this is exceptionally true when huge events take place.
According to Marc Allera, CEO of UK network EE, the amount of mobile data used by attendees during the 2019 Glastonbury music festival, was at a staggering 103.6 terabytes.
Taking place between June 26 and June 30, the festival attracted more than 203,000 festival goers. And their mobile data usage was equivalent to the size needed to upload 51.5 billion pictures to Instagram. Or enough to stream videos for more than 800 years.
In another comparison, that number is equivalent to 1.2 billion song downloads.
EE which has been the festival's technology partner for years, said that the demand for data is always increasing, saying that the 2019's data usage during the festival was almost twice the 54 terabytes used in 2017.
Attendees of the 2019 event gobbled 1,000 times more data than 2010. The massive increase was because at that time, 4G LTE wasn't available in the UK.
The connection that was first made available in 2012, allowed faster connection than 3G. And for the 2019 event, EE used the festival to demonstrate its 5G network by letting festival goers try out its 5G Wi-Fi.
Using data gathered from the company's own official Glastonbury app, EE said that The Killers were the most anticipated performance of the festival, with more than 55,000 users adding the Las Vegas band to their personalized line-up section of the app.
Sheryl Crow’s performance on the other hand, was the most streamed using the BBC coverage available inside the app.
The festival also had a surprise appearance from Sir David Attenborough, the English broadcaster and natural historian. This moment, according to the mobile operator, was the busiest time on its network during the entire festival.
According to EE's marketing communications director Pete Jeavons: “Every year at Glastonbury Festival we see the demand for data increasing and this year all expectations were surpassed."
“This legendary festival is one of the most exciting places on the planet for music fans and our data shows that people are as keen as ever to share their experience with friends and family.”
This shows how fast the world has grown in terms of social media and connectivity dependencies.
Attendees were making calls too, with Allera confirming that 3.7 million calls were made over the festival days.
The main challenge for EE, was not coverage but capacity.
Given by the tight geographic space people are packed into. “We’re looking at Glastonbury being the size of York, but the capacity required is more like central London,” said Tom Bennett, EE’s mobile innovation director, before the event.
The engineering team installed temporary mast sites for the festival, supplemented by one permanent site erected in 2017. And because antennae on rooftops weren't possible, EE raised the masts to five and ten meters high on lattice towers.
With many mobile phones active and packed in the 900-acre outdoor site, EE also had to install multiple power points to recharge phones to anticipate the huge demand of power. EE also sold small power packs which could be exchanged for recharged ones when depleted.
The Glastonbury Festival is known as the five-day festival of contemporary performing arts that takes place in Pilton, Somerset, England.
In addition to contemporary music, the festival also hosts dance, comedy, theater, circus, cabaret, and other form of arts. Attracting hundreds of thousands of people, the event also invites popular pop and rock artists, alongside thousands of others appearing on smaller stages and performance areas.
Considered as the largest greenfield festival in the world, the Glastonbury Festival is also a major event in British culture, inspired by the ethos of the hippies, countercultures, and free festival movements.
In the 2019 event, Glastonbury featured new stages, art installations and areas, including a giant crane.