Thanks to headline sponsor Barclaycard, July saw the Wireless Festival become the first UK music event to be fully kitted out for contactless payment.
The Barclaycard Payband, a branded wristband for all ticket holders, that enables attendees to pay for goods (from booze to burgers) to use only contactless technology.
Are the days of loading up with cash (and getting it stolen) a thing of the past for music festivals?
At Wireless, the PayBand was free to customers and non customers and Barclaycard gave festival goers the option of either loading up their bracelet with £20 worth of electronic value on-site, or to use their own existing NFC-enabled bank card. To pay, users simply tap their band on the payment terminal and then wait for the beep and the visual indicators to confirm the transaction has completed.
Users are only able to spend up to the value of the sum they have loaded on to their wristbands and the system has an auto top-up function. Band balances could be checked at Wireless Festival booths and on its website
The PayBand also offered a range of event tips, hospitality perks and fun like the PayBand activated photo booth and functional features such as site maps and luxury toilets. It was even issued with a gift and limited edition festival bag. The wristband enables wearers’ access into the Barclaycard Unwind Perk Park.
Not all attendees wore a Barclaycard PayBand this year at Wireless, but in the future it could be dovetailed with the ticketing mechanism.
‘We are immensely proud to be the first to go completely contactless and offer the choice of a cashless experience at London’s largest music festival.,’ says Barclaycard head of digital payment Tom Gregory.
‘We’re really excited by the possibilities Barclaycard PayBand offers as a wearable, secure and easy way to pay when you’re out and about at the festival. Alongside QuickTap and Barclaycard PayTag, we’re exploring the versatility that contactless offers as an alternative to cash.’
Despite the rain and the mud, the Barclaycard PayBand was one of the more innovative additions to this year’s festival and on that same weekend all those attending the Wakestock Festival wore RFID wristbands that offered an even broader range of functions from ticketing and access to payments and location.
Torrential downpours and filthy mud baths are things UK festival goers typically take in their stride, but having their cash stolen (or even running out) is one of the worst live music experiences involving either hours with the police or long trecks to the nearest town cash point.
The advent of secure contactless technology can solve this problem with a simple swipe of the wrist.
It is a branded utility that looks likely to be wholeheartedly embraced by the live event scene. It provides partners and sponsors with a genuine opportunity, both brands as well as banks, to play a credible role during festival season by fulfilling a genuine need and solving a genuine festival goer problem.
The possibilities for this sort of microchip RFID technology in sponsorship stretch far far further and wider than the simple tracking devices that have been so prevalent in marathon running in recent years.
From avoiding queues at football, to frustrating the world pick pockets and buying drinks at nightclubs, the possibilities are endless.