5 Music Festivals Using RFID Wristbands for NFC, contactless Payments

NFC enabled phone shipments are expected to grow at 37% CAGR to 1235 Million sets in 2018, according to a new report by Lets Talk Payments. In addition to this, it has been estimated that over 30 festivals around the world made use of RFID technology in 2012, a larger part of them happening in the U.S. Some of them have been discussed below:

Liverpool Sound City Festival:

ZNAP, the flagship product from MPayMe, provided a much more convenient experience for than usual for 15,000 people at the 2014 Liverpool Sound City Festival. Ticketholders were allowed to download the ZNAP app and pair it with their NFC festival wristband, which inturn provided them with quick access to the venues and faster service at the bars - where they could just pay by tapping the NFC wristband on the ZNAP reader.

We’re thrilled Sound City has chosen ZNAP to support their continued drive for innovation and desire to offer their customers a greatly enhanced experience. Sound City is the largest festival of its kind in the UK and staged at venues across the city, so having ZNAP’s technology to make access and payment quicker and more convenient through a quick tap of a wristband will bring real benefits for everyone, said European CEO of ZNAP, Hooman Mazaheri. Festival goers can download ZNAP now and prepare to get a taste of a smarter and more efficient way of enjoying major events, he added.

To use ZNAP at Sound City a user has to:

  • Download ZNAP from the Google Play or Apple App Store.
  • Register his or her credit/debit card details (Visa & MasterCard only)
  • Pair his or her ZNAP account with the wristband that they receive on arrival.
  • Once paired, he or she can utilize the wristband at any spot with ZNAP signs to pay.
  • The user just has to tap his or her wristband on the ZNAP NFC reader and payment is made.
  • The system was in use at 8 Bars as well as 1 fixed location across 6 venues at the festival.

We take pride in celebrating and championing innovation, so partnering with ZNAP to offer our customers innovative technology that improves the overall festival experience is a perfect fitm, said Sound City’s, Laurence Fenlon. In addition to memories of the country’s leading breakthrough artists, we’re sure when festival goers head home they’ll be telling their friends about the new cashless technology and glimpse into the future they’ve experienced. By offering quicker access into venues and making queues a thing of the past, ZNAP will help us make this year’s Sound City the best yet.

Toronto Music Festival:

On 10th April 2014, Huka Entertainment announced its partnership with Live Media Group to to bring Rock The Ocean’s Tortuga Music Festival live to fans around the globe on the web and mobile devices. With the success of Virtual Wristband®, thousands or people that are unable to attend the concert physically had the opportunity to watch and experience the festival on the official website.

  • The Virtual Wristband® technology creates an unlimited amount of ‘virtual tickets’ for fans to purchase so they can experience live events.
  • For fans who were unable travel to Florida for Tortuga, the Virtual Wristband gives them a chance to view the event live on their internet or smartphone.
  • With Virtual Wristband® fans can see and experience exciting live sets from Sheryl Crow, Eric Church, 38 Special, Frankie Ballard and Moon Taxi among others, according to the company.
  • Users have the option to purchase either a single artist’s performance or the full festival ‘virtual pass’.
  • The wristband functions as a live online pay-per-view system that includes an online video player giving access to fans.
  • This enables them to engage as well as control a live social stream, multiple live cameras with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr & Instagram.
  • Encore performances and artist re-broadcast, are additional features.

Live Media Group has created a solution to sold-out entertainment and music events, President and CEO of Live Media Group, Brad Sexton. Virtual Wristband® creates unlimited tickets so the fan who can’t attend the actual event can watch live and still experience it virtually, he added.

Huka Entertainment’s COO, Jeff Kreinik said: We were amazed at the success of the Virtual Wristband for BUKU so we brought that technology back for Tortuga. This live stream will allow a worldwide audience to experience both great artist performances and the amazing beachfront setting in Fort Lauderdale through this technology.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival:

People who attended the 2013 Bonnaroo Music festival utilized RFID technology not only to gain access to the event – but also share on Facebook, upload on Spotify as well as Tweet instantly!

Held in Manchester, Tenn, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is an annual 4 day event produced by AC Entertainment and Superfly Productions. The festival saw nearly 80,000 attendees in 2013.

  • The festival utilized RFID wristbands to provide access control at the campgrounds and music festival, as well as at a host of social-networking functions.
  • After buying tickets for the festival, users signed in online and made their purchase according to their plans, such as camping or accessing the backstage area, reported RFID journal.
  • Each ticket buyer was then mailed the Wristbands containing the appropriate access.
  • The recipient logged onto the Bonnaroo site once the wristband arrived, and entered a 16-digit user ID number printed on the wristband, to link that number with his or her registration information.
  • After arriving onsite, festival-goers could use the wristband to access the concert area and campgrounds, based on the type of ticket purchased.
  • Employees equipped with handheld readers managed smaller gates while RFID reader portals, manufactured by Intellitix, were installed at entrance gates.
  • Visitors just tapped their wristband near the reader at the main gates and continued walking on.

Rocking the Daisies:

In October 2013, Stellenbosch startup Gust Pay, built the app Daisies 2013 as well as NFC Wristbands and mobile payment systems for the event. Rocking the Daisies is South Africa’s leading music and lifestyle festival. The event was held on 3-6 October 2013, just outside Cape Town, and usually attracts over 16000 people every year. Utilizing the Gust Pay app for Android or iOS, money could be loaded via credit cards.

  • The app was designed to take advantage of advanced navigation smartphone features and sensors to guide festival-goers around the venue, reported Ventureburn.
  • The NFC payments system on the other hand enabled people to pre-load money onto wristbands. This entirely negated the requirement to carry cash (I personally can vouch for its cumbersome nature during a music festival).
  • The Daisies app enabled users to build their own custom schedule and included all the important GPS coordinated. It also let them navigate using a 2D map and Augmented Reality view.

The Daisies 2013 app raises the bar for festival apps in terms of design and features, Joe Botha of Gust Pay, stated at the time, in a blog post. Music festival environments are perfect for mobile apps as we need quick access to relevant information. This app is a great example of using location services and a range of sensors in our smartphones today.

Isle of Wight Festival:

In June 2012, over 10,000 of the 55,000 people that arrived for the festival, made use of wristbands to pay for drinks and food throughout the site. The wristbands enabled payments utilizing radio technology, by simply waving the band over a contactless reader.

Vodafone, MasterCard UK, Central Catering, Intelligent Venue Solutions as well as wristband manufacturer ID&C collaborated the organizers of Isle of Wight, to set up the payment method.

  • Ticket holders were given the chance to upgrade their standard wristband to an RFID one before festival started.
  • This was then linked to their appropriate debit or credit card.
  • A few of the catering outlets and all the bars were enabled with technology to accept payments via wristband.
  • Top-up points were set up all around the site and guests utilizing the wristbands could make purchases of up to £20 in a single transaction.
  • Any unused credit was automatically refunded to the customer at the festivals termination.

'There are a number of festivals throughout the UK, Europe and US adopting the technology, and they’re all using entry wristbands as the intermediary, Steve Daly, operations director at ID&C, stated at the time. It’s a convenient way for fans to reap the benefits of the technology and enhance their festival experience.'