In the end, the stories are the most interesting part of the dataset, so I tried to find a way to both convey the data and share the stories behind the entries. To really focus on the stories, I want to make this map interactive, but with my beginner programming skills that will take a while (any ideas or suggestions to make this interactive with limited time, please let me know!). For now I highlighted 6 stories in the data that I found interesting:
In the summer of 2018 I was preparing for maternity leave and had some time to spare. I’m not sure why, but instead of taking the time to mentally prepare for childbirth, I decided to do a dataviz project on a subject I love: music festivals.
Finding an interesting dataset was a real challenge. You would expect that being pregnant might improve your likability factor, but nobody wanted to share their data with me! Then I remembered an appeal made by Jerry Vermanen, a Dutch data journalist: we should try and collect more data ourselves.
I got in contact with Stephan Okhuijsen, an expert in collecting data. I knew some of his projects, especially the one where he collected data on the price of concert tickets. With his help I started a no-budget social media campaign: share your ultimate festival experience with me through www.mijnfestivalervaring.nl. The first entries I got were from friends, family and colleagues. After some time more and more entries were from people I didn’t know.
During the collection proces, the Dutch radio station 3 FM broadcasted a show called the Festival top 999. I asked them if I could explain my festival data collection project during the show to get some exposure.
I had just picked up my order of Indian food and was walking home when they called me that I was on the air. Being almost 9 month pregnant at that time, walking was a challenge and I was completely out of breath. I sat down on the nearest bench and pitched my project. I was over the moon with the radio exposure and the pitch went quite well! Surprisingly this resulted in exactly 0 extra entries. However, when listening to the show I noticed that the radio dj’s asked a similar question to the people who voted for the songs in the top 999: what was your favourite festival song? This often resulted in stories about ultimate festival experiences. So I started documenting the ultimate festival stories on the radio as well.
I had set my goal on 100 entries and ended up with 129. Not a major accomplishment, but it was enough for what I wanted to build.
Exploring the data, there were a couple of things that stood out. Lowlands had the most votes for the ultimate festival but Pinkpop had a lot of specific concerts that got a lot of votes. I found that most entries were from recent years. Are we short of memory or have festivals and artist gotten better? I also found that the personal stories were most interesting to read. How could I visualise those?
By that time my baby really wanted to get out, so I had to put the project on hold. However, a lot of people took the time and effort to share their experiences with me, I couldn’t leave them waiting for me to get back on my feet without leaving them some kind of reminder that I hadn’t abandoned the project! So I made this small teaser viz.
So where am I now?
My son was born, I enjoyed my maternity leave and I got back to work as a freelancer at the end of 2018. Unfortunately for my Festival Project I got a new assignment fairly quick, so I have to work on my festival project in my spare time and that doesn’t work too well. The Storytelling with Data challenge gave me a new drive to finally make a version of the dataviz that has been in my head for a while now (and is the reason this blog is in English). I will share my design proces in another blog with you and an interactive version as soon as I find the time to build it!