Cashless festival trial to hit the UK this Summer?

It’s not often that a press release catches my eye, but the one below, from wristband providers ID&C caught my eye. Especially given how impressed I was with Sonar’s cashless set-up from last year.

I’ve pasted in the key points, which is an overview of ‘Plastic Passion’, one of the Event Production Show’s ‘Access Sessions’ held at Olympia earlier this month.

This 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, 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 separate accounts on how the adoption of RFID wristbands at festivals such as Coachella and Lollapalooza had positive results for the organisers. Daly added that the success had also spawned an influx of enquiries for the wristbands.

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.

RFID wristbands hit the headlines recently after Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis announced that they’d be considering using the technology when the festival returns in 2013.

ID&C will be showcasing their RFID wristbands and other products at the International Live Music Conference in London between 7thand 11th March.

Leave a Reply