Festival technology; Millennials Changing the face of festivals


Festivals are fast escaping the shackles of cash transactions and long boring ticket queues at kiosks or stands. In the past decade, there has been a technological advancement with regards to safer, easier and more reliable payment methods, especially at highly populated gatherings in public spaces like  malls, movies and most importantly music festivals. The cashless concept was first introduced in 2011 by the famous Sziget festival, which takes place annually in Hungary. Since then, many festival organizers have adopted it as a faster and easier method of making payment. The need to provide a more user-friendly and safer method of payment especially at crowded music festival prompted the different contactless transactions available today. In recent years, an increasing number of festivals worldwide have adopted cashless payments based on contactless wristbands and these payment apperatys have overtaken traditional payment methods, such as cash or cards.

According to the 2017 World Payment Report, “Contactless Payments such as RFID’s are fast becoming the new normal.” These payment methods are specially designed to make faster, easier payments. Currently, aside from U.K and U.S most countries have adopted these methods including Africa. Most importantly, as the festive season approaches, contactless technologies will serve perfectly for carrying out transactions with numerous point-of-sale terminals, ticket transactions, and transit system.

How it works

Whether it the wristband, contactless card or watch technology, each piece of festive technology serves the same purpose during festivals- to facilitate ‘Safety and convenience.’ These new technologies are designed with a state of the art wireless communication technology, an inbuilt Data label, microchip and micro antenna for quick wireless communication with any nearby payment terminal through a near field communication (NFC) technology. The major advantage is the ability of users to pay without the use of bogus Pins or payment signatures especially for payments below a certain limit, known as the floor limit.

For Festival participants to make use this technology, they are required to load money on a cashless account before the festival or to link it to a credit card. At the festival, each participant is assigned a personal wristband to be exclusively used at the event for purchases and tickets. After the festivals, users can request that any money not spent be returned. This is usually done within 1 to 4 week of festival ending. This ensures security, as many organizers have discovered.

Millennials- the driving force of festival technology

Millennials or Generation Y are the demographic or generation from the mid-1980s to early 2000. They are known as technology generations because of their uncanny familiarity with media, communications and digital technology, beyond previous sects.

Recently, a recent study by an online label company revealed that millennials are leaning more towards these new technologies. They were discovered that nearly 50% of them are championing these advancements.

Just as it is always said, “Change is constant,” and as time changes, new technology and improvements are bound to occur. Music festivals are fast upgrading from what they used to be. The whole festival experience has transformed, from ticketless entry to contactless payment options, they offer an entirely different and better user experience. Planning and logistics mean there are better ways to enjoy music festivals.

An online label company Data Label,  researched into what festival goers prefer when it comes to making purchases at festivals and creating an ideal and faster method of entrance.

Paper tickets, fabric wristbands, and cash:

  • Generation Z – 20%
  • Millennials – 17%
  • Generation X – 31%
  • Baby boomers – 32%

People within the Generation X category, are likely to go for paper tickets, cash, and fabric wristbands. They are individuals born within 1960-1980s.

RFID technology wristband entry already preloaded with cash:

  • Generation Z – 16%
  • Baby boomers – 21%
  • Millennials – 18%
  • Generation X – 45%

RFID enabled devices are programmed to automate quick recognition once scanned, thereby enabling faster entries for people and reducing the possibility of fake tickets at festivals. Contactless payments are so popular in general these days that they have now expanded to festivals. These also enable fast transactions with bank cards or smart cards, as well as mobile phones and smart watches with this option activated.

Mobile ticket entry, contactless card, and smartwatch payments:

  • Generation Z – 24%
  • Millennials – 48%
  • Generation X – 18%
  • Baby boomers – 10%

Contactless purchase technologies at fairs and festivals have revolutionized the mode of money exchange, reducing theft, and increasing profitability and performance. During a recent interview with Brian Wilkinson, a Cashless festival tech vendor at the 2018,” it provides a safer and more reliable paying system for both customer and vendors, hence increasing profitability by over 25%.”

Currently, most organizers are opting for the cashless technologies especially during the crowded music festivals, and if things continue progressively in this manner, by the year 2022, festivals and gathering will entirely be digitized.