“What’s up, Outside Hacks? No, I said what’s up, Outside Hacks?”

Orange-shirted Sandeep Chivukula towers over the crowd, his voice booming through a massive PA system in San Francisco’s The Independent, a showcase for live music, this Wednesday night. The crowd of about 350 people responds just the way he expects them to, roaring to life.

But when he’s done soaking up the cheers and applause, Chivukula doesn’t launch into his latest single, but into a pitch for the app he and his team put together over the previous weekend.

Chivukula was one of dozens of developers who took part in the first Outside Hacks, a hackathon that challenged coders to create an app that will improve the experience of concertgoers at San Francisco’s Outside Lands music festival. It wouldn’t hurt for the app to have a life beyond the festival, either.

Dolby, which produces tools to help developers incorporate fantastic audio into their apps, was one of the sponsors of the contest, and Simon Walker, Dolby’s senior manager for developer programs, was on the jury that chose a winner.

The apps on display were designed to help all kinds of festivalgoers, from hyperconnected music fans who want to relive their favorite moments in virtual reality to forgetful fans who just want an easy way to find their lost belongings. Another app will help attendees easily find music from the bands they enjoyed at the festival.

The dedicated hacker teams, who had spent the better part of two days in an intense code-a-thon to build their apps, each had a different approach to the assignment. But they shared an infectious enthusiasm for the art and science of entertainment.

The panel of judges, which, in addition to Walker, included Bay Area music legend MC Hammer and other Outside Lands luminaries, was given the opportunity to ask each team questions and provide feedback after each app presentation. By the time each team had left the stage, team members seemed to have a clear idea of where to take the next iteration of their app.

Before the final curtain dropped and the musical entertainment for the night—the New Orleans Grammy® winning Rebirth Brass Band—took the stage, the judges deliberated backstage and chose a winner.

The OutsideLOAF hacker team took the cake, with its novel, SMS-based approach to the age-old problem of items lost and found.


You can see the complete list of winners and find their apps—available for use.

Interested in developing your own app with extraordinary audio? Head to the Dolby Developer site and sign up for updates on opportunities like this, as well as more general information on developing apps with Dolby® technology. It’s free for the developer and gives Dolby a new opportunity to keep improving entertainment.