Maps are sometimes essential to complete a story, especially when they address topics such as epidemics, a series of crimes in a given neighborhood, transportation incidents, or the layout of music festivals. This week, Noise Pop Festival took over San Francisco full force with an extensive array of events scattered throughout the city. An SFist article created a day-by-day festival planner, highlighting information about artists and locations so that attendees would not miss a thing. Erick Pressman wrote about literally every aspect of the festival and included images for the bands Yo la Tengo, Best Coast, and Fresh and Onlys, as well as a photo from Nick Zinner’s “1001 Images,” which definitely enhanced the article. There was just one element missing from the story: a map. After all, wouldn’t it be the most effective way to break down the layout of the festival using an actual map, linking each location to the website of the band or artist as well as the venue?
Maps help the reader visualize a story, which is helpful for a chaotic, scattered music festival like Noise Pop or the annual SXSW in Austin where the event is not concentrated in a specific area. In the case of this article, the whole point was to simplify the experience for attendees, when in reality it turned out to be a really long rant that provided more information about the actual artists than offer advice about simple accessibility. The article should have been titled “Everything you need to know about Noise Pop artists” rather than “The official SFist Noise Pop preview and day by day festival planner: do it right or be bummed.”