There’s a trend we’ve noticed at festivals lately where BlackBerry support is being dropped. This hasn’t always been the case. For some festivals, there was a previous app and for the most recent year it’s completely absent. It’s not enough to say “well BlackBerry is on the downward swing in North America” because that doesn’t address the current market share. Many of these festivals have enourmous BlackBerry support. For example, Bluesfest happens in Ottawa, Canada, where there’s probably a larger BlackBerry userbase than iPhone. For some reason, the organizers of the festival have a misconception about BlackBerry and don’t feel like investing the resources. Why do we say it’s the organizers? Because the companies that make these apps have the resources and the developers to address the platform, so it seems the client isn’t requesting it (to their own detriment).
The Calgary Stampede is a great example of this. PurpleForge is the development company behind the Calgary Stampede iPhone app but there is no BlackBerry version available. It’s not like PurpleForge can’t do BlackBerry, its App World vendor account has 14 apps in App World, one of which is for the City of Calgary. The only explanation is that the client simply didn’t want it.
Here are some other Canadian festivals that have ignored BlackBerry support:
Junos (to be fair, they ignored Android too)
NXNE (for 2011, they had a BlackBerry app and 2012 we’ve heard they will not have one.)
Here’s a prediction: TIFF 2012 won’t have a BlackBerry app. Maybe this year it’s only iPad and iPhone.
The Just for Laughs Festival
The Montreal Jazz Festival had BlackBerry support for 2011 from the developers at GreenCopper and it should be interesting to see if the same products get released this year.
It seems like the anti-BlackBerry sentiment is strong enough with festival organizers that they’re willing to compromise an entire fanbase because they don’t want to support the platform. It would be pretty cheap and easy to make a BlackBerry app, especially with Webworks. So what can RIM do about this? Surely RIM’s evangelist team is talking to these festival organizers and offering to help with the development process. But RIM can’t go around making apps for everyone. Maybe RIM needs to get the clients themselves on BlackBerry. If you’re organizing a festival, a BlackBerry is the must-have device. Perhaps seeding those agencies that run festivals with free devices would get them to see the importance of BlackBerry support.
Or maybe it’s the fans that need to do the legwork. Any time there’s a festival with no BlackBerry support, go Netflix on their ass and convince them it’s needed. The #teamblackberry noise can be loud enough to convince any festival that it’s worth having BlackBerry support.
I don’t go to many festivals in the US, but I suspect the same is happening. There’s nothing for SXSW in App World and there’s a wide variety of official and unofficial apps for the festival in iTunes. This article focused on Canada mainly because I know a lot of the developers of Canadian festival apps and live in Canada. Also, it’s a Canadian product so where is the #teamcanada love?