April 2018 for SC Productions

Artist Advance

A web application to manage artists, guests and vehicles arriving at some of the UK’s biggest events

SC Productions Ltd have worked in live events for over 2 decades in greenfield sites, stadiums, historic venues, public parks, city centre locations and purpose-built venues and manage the advancing of artists at a number of high-profile UK Music Festivals, including Bestival, Creamfields, Camp Bestival, Field Day, Love Box, Citadel, Common People and Bloodstock. To do this they rely heavily on their Artist Advance web application to capture information tailored to each festival.

We were asked to help update or replace Artist Advance originally built in 2009. After spending some time with the original codebase it was decided that the best course of action was to start with a clean slate and create an entirely new version of the application that would allow us to really move the project into the future.

Artist Advance relies on the idea of user-roles to allow users to carry out their required tasks and a small number of super-admins who are able to manage the site at a very high level. Everybody else on the site is a user who is assigned a role in relation to a particular object on the site – these roles allow the user to manage everything from that level down.

Diagram describing the flow of data through the Advance application.

With so many users to manage (over 1,200 at the last count), we opted to use a passwordless login solution from auth0 which allows users to access the site with just their email address.

As tour managers complete their act’s details the site runs a tally of artists, crew, guests and vehicles expected at the event, giving SC Productions a quick high-level view of their events.

Uploads, downloads, emails and attachments

Artist Advance is noteworthy in how many different types of inputs and outputs required.

  • upload key documents for a given event
  • email to notify tour managers that they’ve been added to the site
  • email to tour managers confirming the details they submitted
  • email to advancing group managers that tour managers have completed or updated an act, with changes highlighted (CC’d to event managers)
    • attachment with details of artists, crew and their vehicles
    • attachment with details of guestlist and camping requirements
  • download a .CSV file with details of all acts at an event

These outputs are especially important as SC Productions can’t always be certain of a good internet connection at many of the events they manage – the team need to be able to use exported files and their email inboxes as a fallback. For emails, we used the SendGrid API and for file uploads and storage we used Amazon’s S3.