Cashless Festivals Likely This Summer

16 Feb

Festival industry and RFID technology figureheads revealed the likelihood of cashless festivals this summer at event production seminar.

‘Plastic Passion’, one of the Event Production Show’s ‘Access Sessions’ held at Olympia, London earlier this month, brought together four corners of the event industry to talk about RFID wristbands, a topic hot on the lips of fans and organisers around the world.

The panel, consisting of Isle of Wight Festival’s Rob Langford, Steve Daly from ID&C (@RFIDSteve), Steve Jenner from Intellitix and Ticketmaster’s Adam Newsam, provided the perfect mix of experience and insight to debate the future of RFID in the live event space.

The seminar kicked-off with an overview of the success seen in North America last summer, where RFID was used for access control at a number of flagship live events. Intellitix’s Steve Jenner, and ID&C’s Steve Daly gave accounts on how the adoption of RFID wristbands at festivals such as Coachella and Lollapalooza gave positive results for the organisers.

Rob Langford from Solo (the production company behind Isle of Wight festival) provided the promoters’ view point, giving insight into the RFID cashless payment trial carried out amongst 500 fans at the festival last summer. The pre-loaded RFID wristbands gave fans in the VIP arena the chance to experience the technology when purchasing at food and drink stalls. Langford expressed that the success of the trial had led the Isle of Wight festival to consider other avenues where RFID wristbands would benefit the festival and its fans.

The explicit insight into RFID technology provoked an extensive Q&A session, where a packed-out audience asked everything from ‘how can an RFID wristband be topped-up?’ to ‘who owns the data on the wristband?’ The most frequent question though, ultimately asked ‘who will pay for the technology?’ The scrutinised panel gave individual scenarios and explained possible business models that included sponsorship and paying for the new technology from the proven uplift in sales that a cashless payment solution can generate. Solo’s Langford stated that it was certainly not the intention of Isle of Wight to pass the cost onto the fans.

Although no specific festivals were named, it was unanimously hinted by the panel that the industry could expect to see a cashless payment solution at a UK festival this summer. 


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