MusicFest Canada

A complete solution for daring web developers

a web developer scoping a business application

We have known MusicFest Canada and have had the opportunity of working with them for a few years. In our first effort in 2012, we were able to separate the Content of the website from the rest of the management system and establish a CMS that was much easier to administrate and update.

When Musikfest approached us in 2015 and asked to improve their system, we didn’t immediately realize the complexity of that task.


In the belly of the beast

This was a web-based ASP.NET application that was built to convert CSV and Excel spreadsheets to an application in earlier years. The system had functioned for many years, but as the festival grew in size and operation scale, there were numerous changes in the functionality that needed serious attention.

MusicFest Executive Director and board trusted us with our full working solution proposal. Since then, we have worked closely with them to capture the functionalities the system embeds, for various roles operation needs, and how they each interact with it.

Our final product had to be a unified proprietary system build on top of the most advanced frameworks and stacks of code. It had to be scalable and could accommodate future growth. Meanwhile, we had to integrate all the festival needs from scholarship applications to traveling and accommodation arrangements to critical financial data, all of which being key to a successful festival.


Key functionalities of the Business Application

Depending on the role (Administrator, Festival Director, Band Director, Student, Volunteer, Advertiser, etc…) each user has access to specific key features.

For example, administrators can:

  • Manage over 5000 users and their role (more than 30 roles).
  • Manage the festival settings and stages.
  • Manage over 4000 schools
  • Manage over 1000 Bands, invite, manage dates and times, stage calendar, auditions and more
  • Manage accommodations, flights, hotels, rooms and drivers schedule
  • Affiliated festivals
  • Financials
  • Scholarships and awards
  • Organizations and venues management
  • Syllabus
  • Concerts and Tickets
  • Workshops

These key features are part of hundreds of features that basically allow all the different participants to do their share in the organization of the annual event that is MusicFest Canada.

The power of Data Filters

Managing thousands of rows in dozens of tables could be a nightmare without the proper tools. Each dashboard in the console has a first section named “Express filters”.

data express filters for business application

This allows users to filter the data in one click, based on the most frequent filters. In this case, the user can see all the bands, only the one invited, or only the one registered.

If users need to go deeper, they can use regular filters. Each feature of the console has been optimized to offer the needed filters. Here, in the school section, it’s possible to filter by status, category, invited year, and province.

filtering data in business application

It is even possible to combine filters:

extensive filtering of data business application


Custom reports: reporting made easy

Each and every feature on the website allows fast loading, one-click saving, and exporting. It is made possible by a strong Jquery engine, improved by our front-end web developers in order to complete the back-end work. We’ve designed easy to use dashboards and forms, so anyone can make changes.

For hardcore data filtering, we’ve added a powerful custom report module that allows administrators to literally export anything they need.

It is user-friendly and uses Ajax to deliver a seamless experience.

custom reporting business application


Scheduling made easy

Speaking of complicated procedures, MusicFest impressed us with the number of challenges in developing many micro-systems. One of which was to develop a scheduling system that follows the procedure around setting up stages and scheduling various performances during the festival.

musicfest schedule


A complete website redesign

While we were building the business application, we started working on the public site redesign. The previous website had been made 3 years ago and lacked some essential aspects such as an improved mobile version (almost 30% of all visits happen on mobile during the festival itself), better UX, simplified Content management system, and an optimized Information Architecture.

The previous website in 2014:

website redesign toronto

The website today:

business application public website redesign

We spent hours decrypting 4 years of website analytics to build the new Information Architecture.

The main challenge was to build a public website with information easily accessible for every type of user and each specific period of the year.

As a matter of fact, it turned out that we could identify 3 grand periods in the year:

  1. Pre-festival: gathering information, registering, scheduling, applying…
  2. During the festival: Venues and locations, scheduling, events, addresses, and contacts…
  3. Post-festival: festival results, awards and scholarships, pictures and social media

We then built a new front-end made optimized for these three periods. The CMS itself is built to accommodate that specificity. Therefore, it is incredibly easy to switch from one to another.


The public response

MusicFest team and visitors were excited to see 2016’s Festival starting with a fresh new website and the response they were amazing!

We compared the analytics from festival 2015 to festival 2016 and it confirmed our predictions.

Google analytics website redesign

The number of sessions went up and the duration of visits went down. It shows that visitors find what they’re looking for faster on the new website.