2020BBC Music Events Platform

Record-breaking numbers of people tuned in to what has been our most comprehensive digital Glastonbury offering to date. This year, we gave our audience the opportunity to watch what they wanted, when they wanted and how they wanted. And they did.

Bob Shennan, Controller, BBC Popular Music


In 2013 the BBC brought audiences the most comprehensive digital coverage ever, with live-streams from the six key music stages, over 120 live performances and more than 250 hours of live coverage across multiple screens.

  • A record 1.5 million unique browsers accessing the BBC’s digital Glastonbury coverage
  • The first truly mobile Glastonbury with 42 per cent of total traffic across the weekend from mobiles and tablets
  • Around 700,000 requests for The Rolling Stones’ legendary performance (live and catch up, radio and TV requests)
  • Over 6.2m viewers on the BBC’s Red Button over the weekend, up by 77 per cent compared Glastonbury 2011

Audience profile
There was no ‘specific’ demographic for this project, as it is a ‘website maker’ with any number of potential uses (the first site’s to use the system: ‘Hackney Weekend 2012’ and ‘T in the Park’ both have 18–35, Radio 1 / 6 crossover audiences, while another upcoming event, Radio 3’s ‘Free Thinking’ is a 35–55 Radio 3 / 4 crossover). A significant ‘audience’ in terms of this project was the BBC editorial teams.

Context synopsis
Over the last few years, the BBC has utilised a semi-automated/semi-hand built template system, called the MMFT, to create websites to support their coverage of music festivals. Whist the sites produced (several by Picture) were always comprehensive, high-spec, high-content and design value, and well received, they were also difficult to produce, time-consuming and costly, and because of the hand made aspects, very easy to break.

The aim behind Eavis was to take the common editorial requirements for these websites, and produce a platform (with CMS) for quickly producing them, reducing development overhead, without reducing the quality of the delivery, and allowing the editorial users to focus on the quality of the content.

Project requirements

  • Model the ‘domain of interest’ around music events and devise a scope for the platform (within the context of the BBC ecosystem)
  • Create and implement a data-model reflecting this conceptual model, whilst also reflecting the user-requirements and ‘edge cases’
  • Utilise known BBC UX patterns and elements to deliver the audience facing site elements
  • Significantly improve on the mobile-device UX of MMFT event sites 
  • Investigate editorial workflow and related internal systems, then architect and design a system for the internal audience to quickly and easily produce and maintain these sites
  • Produce an audience-facing site which combines events data, delivered from the Eavis API, along with data retrieved automatically from a number of other feeds and data sources
  • Deliver the significant quantity of data and A/V media (including live streaming) created around each event covered
  • Handle the significant usage spikes in and around event times (upwards of 100 requests a second)
  • Utilise proven, measurable, design and development processes
  • Integrate a large number of external systems including brand new and even ‘incomplete’ services and technologies
  • Deliver the completed works, fully tested, and meeting BBC code, design and accessibility standards
  • Deliver the system in time to use it for the high-profile Hackney

Weekend 2012 site (one of three ‘Tier 1’ events happening at the BBC this year, the others being the Jubilee and the Olympics)

What we did 
We produced a platform/application:

  • with a single, quick, easy production interface
  • capable of producing any number of audience facing websites
  • which is extremely economical and precise in the scope of its data
  • which utilises a number of other BBC services, in particular:
  • the /music service for a significant quantity of the information around acts, artist biogs, album reviews, etc
What next
Now in phase 4, we were responsible for the Strategy and delivery of the CMS. This included the overarching project management, UXD, design and the front end build. 
The fruits of which allow the BBC to boot out a web site with an editorial lead, big or small for any event in matter of days rather than weeks/months.  
Phase 3 saw additional functionality for ‘phablet’ (phone and tablet), a live media stream  and IPTV capacity, it launched for Glastonbury 2013.  
250 hours of content (video, photography and copy) in 7 days went into this site, with 8 or 9 different stages and other locations, 22 concurrent live media streams.


The platform has since been utilised for multiple events since such as Reading & Leeds festival and won a
Gold Lovie Award for The BBC’s digital Glastonbury