Rock Werchter with an Apple Watch

Next week I’ll be enjoying four days of music at Rock Werchter. I love festivals and enjoy both listening to bands I already know (come on Dave Grohl, heal your leg!), and discovering new bands.Werchter is one of Belgian’s biggest festival and it has multiple stages with bands playing at overlapping times. A few years ago I used to carry a paper program around the park, upgraded to a screenshot of the program on my iPhone’s homescreen a few years later, but this year I thought: why not use my Apple Watch?

Checking when the next band comes up takes only a glance, I’m far less likely to lose my Watch than my iPhone in a crowd (moshpits) and — when it comes to easily glanceable information — the Watch is king.

I decided that, until native apps are available in September, the easiest approach at this moment would be the creation of a separate calendar in iCloud which contains all the performances as events. I can add that calendar as a glance to the Apple Watch (I’ll probably use the Modular watchface) and voila, a Festival schedule on my wrist.

The festival’s website only offers an overview and no downloadable .ics-file, so getting the program on the Watch required some scripting I copied the schedule to Drafts, used a bit of Javacript to prepend each line with a date, and append a location (the stage name) followed by /w to point it to a new Werchter calendar I created in advance.

I ended up with a long list of performances:

  • 25/06 14:00 – 14:50 Marmozets at Main Stage /w
  • 25/06 15:30 – 16:30 Eagles of Death Metal at Main Stage /w
  • 25/06 17:15 – 18:15 Rise Against at Main Stage /w
  • 25/06 19:00 – 20:00 Florence + the Machine at Main Stage /w
  • 25/06 21:00 – 23:30 Foo Fighters at Main Stage /w

Up next: getting this list, which is formatted in a parseable string, into Fantastical. I used this Drafts‘s Action to batch import all the events. After seeing my iPad quickly flipping back and forth between Drafts and Fantastical for a few minutes, everything calmed down and I ended up with a nice overview of all the performances in my Agenda.

So next week while ordering a fresh pint and listening to some awesome band, I can quickly glance at my Watch and see if I how long they’ve got left, and if there’s still time to play that one hit song they didn’t play yet.

After finishing this small project I realised that watchOS 1 only shows the current event on the watchface. If I easily want to see upcoming bands, I either need to open the Calendar or Fantastical app each time.. or install watchOS 2 and use the awesome Time Travel feature. It’s tempting..