Phone ban at Edinburgh’s Fly Open Air Festival to tackle Instagram obsessed revellers

Spectators holding their phones at a festival.
Spectators holding their phones at a festival.
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A MUSIC festival is believed to be the first in the country to bring in a phone BAN to stop Instagram-obsessed revellers ruining it by taking photos.

Punters at the two-day FLY Open Air festival starting today will have their mobiles locked in special cases.

The ban is being brought in for its Boiler Room stage.

Festival-goers cannot open the sealed pouches - with clothes-style security tags on them - until the end.

Festival director Tom Ketley hopes this will allow people to “live in the moment” while enjoying artists such as Jasper James and Kornel Kovacs.

“You would not go to the cinema and watch the film through your phone, so I don’t see how this is any different,” Tom said.

“Dance music is becoming more popular within youth culture, and more and more young people are getting addicted to their phones.”

“It means people are watching the whole show through their screens,” Tom blasted.

“When you’re out dancing the last thing you want is a flashlight shined in your face.”

“I want people to live in the moment and enjoy the music,” he said.

“We felt like there was no other way do this other than take quite drastic action.

“If you put stickers over people cameras they just take them off.”

The festival is shipping 8,000 cases over from America, specially made by US start-up Yondr.

They are similar to the pouches Jack White and Ed Sheeran have used to ban phones at their gigs.

In future, Tom would like the whole of the Edinburgh based festival to be phone free.

“One day I would like to do that, but at the moment we thought we would test it on a small scale,” he said.

Tom hopes that as Boiler Room is broadcasting the stage live online, social media obsessed millennials will not worry about having their phones locked away.

The FLY Open Air festival is at Hopetoun House, Edinburgh and ends on Sunday.

Dance artists such as Sven Vath, Seth Troxler and Nina Kravitz are headlining.

The ban comes as more venues across the country are clamping down on phone use.

New east London nightclub FOLD puts stickers over the cameras of revellers as they arrive.

DJ Eoin Fenton - who organises club nights in Bristol - explained for artists it’s a dilemma between creating the best atmosphere, and promoting yourself through social media.

He said: “It gets infuriating, because half the time it’s just a sea of phones.

“You don’t get to see people having a good time and enjoying the music.

“But we’re in a social media generation. I take full advantage of it.

“If someone sends a video of me, I post it on my social media and it makes good content.”

But chart-topping band Alt-J said phones would not be banned on future tours.

Gus Unger-Hamilton, who plays keyboard for the Mercury Prize winners, said: “My view is people have paid their money and they should be allowed to do what they want.

“But as a performer and a music fan it does make me sad that a lot of people’s main fixation seems to be with taking photos and videos they can post on social media to say they were at the gig, rather than focusing on enjoying it in the moment.”