Drones Galore

The word “drone” is provocative, eliciting responses ranging from fear to suspicion to fascination but there are two near certainties: one, there will be more drones seen in the U.S. in the next year and, two, that will include outdoor – or even indoor – events.

There are different types of drones. There are the controversial, winged military drones but there are also the gadfly multi-propeller drones that are the big cousins to remote-controlled toy helicopters.

They’re small and cute – although they come packaged with their own brand of controversy.

Be that as it may, they’re already here. A few weeks ago, the crowd at Rocklahoma in Pryor, Okla., noticed a drone flying above the festival grounds.

Event promoter Joe Litvag of AEG Live told Pollstar a company was contracted to take aerial photos of the event.

Also this year, Danny O’Video, the video company for Kenny Chesney’s massive outdoor events, used a remote-controlled gimbal helicopter to capture crowd shots at Wrestlemania.

It appears that drones are on their way, which leads to an obvious question for the partiers out there: will they bring me a beer?

The jury is still out.

The Marquee Day Club at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas got attention recently because it used a drone to serve alcohol during the Memorial Day weekend.

A video shows a drone delivering a bottle of champagne from the outdoor bar to a patron in the pool. However, a spokeswoman for the club told Pollstar the event was overblown.

The club hired a company to fly a drone to take aerial photos but when it was learned that the drone could carry 12 pounds, the club used it to fly a champagne bottle to the pool.


It was captured on a phone, which led to a viral video and an AP story, which led to a lot of incoming phone inquiries, the spokeswoman said.

That’s not to say others are discouraged with the “drink delivery” idea. In August, South Africa will have its OppiKoppi music festival that promised to use a drone to parachute beers to patrons.

The “OppiKoppi Beer Drone” would drop cold beers based on the GPS locations of patrons’ smart phones, according to webzine Jubilee Hotel.

Although the drone would be hand-guided, future plans involved using a GPS grid. The technology, developed by Cape Town’s Darkwing Aerials, would implement a smartphone app for payment purposes.

Of course, there are concerns about a beer conking someone on the head or getting accidentally delivered to an underage patron, but the festival was planning to use it in a designated area and the beers would be free.

However, a spokesman for the event told Pollstar that it all fell by the wayside when drones were outlawed inside South Africa airspace.

Litvag, who promotes several AEG festivals throughout the Midwest, was skeptical of drones serving as beer maidens for the reasons mentioned.

But he does see them dropping confetti, lighting the festival grounds or doing other things to entertain the crowd.

“I can’t see them being used for anything that involves a financial transaction,” he told Pollstar, “but they can certainly be used for other possibilities.”