It’s official, festival season is here and it’s time to start compiling your survival checklist. Wellies are essential, as is a good anorak and a packet or two of paracetamol… but will you need to take your wallet with you this year?
Over the last few years Barclay’s have been trialling their wearable payment wristband at a number of UK festivals, including Wireless Festival and the British Summer Time Music Festival. Using the same technology as their contactless credit and debit cards, Barclay’s bPay band fits neatly around your wrist and allows you to top-up long before you’ve pitched your tent. The bPay band proved to be a huge success amongst festivalgoers who were tired of lugging around their wallets; it made payments quicker and easier and erased the security issue of carrying cash and cards.
In 2014, dance music festival TomorrowWorld in Atlanta, made the pioneering choice to go completely cashless. Not in the style of Burning Man, where you might need to swap your denim cut-offs for a bottle of water, but by making TomorrowWorld’s entry wristband your payment method too.
To enforce their cashless vision, TomorrowWorld introduced mandatory registration, which meant all guests had to register their wristband ahead of the festival or on-site at a cashless kiosk.
Unsurprisingly, cashless payments cut back the wait times at food and drink tents, making for a far more pleasant experience.
“We were thrilled at how seamlessly the cashless system worked. It allowed for faster transactions and let everyone spend more time enjoying TomorrowWorld.” Ritty van Straalen, Chief Operating Officer, SFX Entertainment.
New technologies aren’t just changing how we spend our money at festivals, they’re also having an impact on the acts we’ve spent our money to go and see.
Who could forget Tupac making an appearance at Coachella in 2012, sixteen years after his untimely death. Not to mention Michael Jackson’s posthumous debut at last years’ Billboard Awards. Termed as ‘digital formaldehyde’, holograms have come a long way in recent years and have found themselves in the centre of a heated, ‘ethically correct or not’, debate.
It may be a year or two yet before we see cashless payments introduced at every festival, and even longer before we see the Amy Winehouse revival tour… But until then we’ve found two apps that might make this years’ festival experience a little more enjoyable:
The worst part about festivals, aside the portaloos, is losing your friends. There’s that awkward moment when you spend a little too long staring at that forty-something year-old man who’s wearing pink Hello Kitty skin-tight leggings, before realising that your entire group of friends have walked off and abandoned you in a sea of strangers. Thanks to Apple’s Find My Friends, you don’t need to worry about ever getting lost again.
As Lil’ Kim once said ‘put your lighters up’, but who carries a lighter around with them these days? The only thing rammed in most people’s pockets at festivals will be their e–cigs. There’s something pretty magical about listening to your favourite band thrash out their most emotional song whilst being dazzled by a plethora of tiny, flickering white lights. The smart phone light tried to take over, but it just wasn’t the same. Well, we’ve got just the answer with Virtual Zippo Lighter.