For a few years now, the technology for controlling the entrances and security of festivals has been fairly improved. From the use of individual cards in order to check-in and out that guarantee that no wristband is being passed around, to microchips to the same effect that are also chargeable with money, simplifying all transactions: all these efforts brought us to the ultimate festival experience in the 21st century. While the former scenario becomes quite useful and is a very effective way to stop multiple entries, the second definitely has some inconveniences money-wise.
In most festivals where this system is being used, the microchip is attached to the festival wristband, with most of them also being used for check-in as well. One of the main problems may be the unavailabilty to charge your wristband before the festival starts, preferably online. It leaves you, and everyone else, to charge your bracelet after you get it, in stands proposedly made to receive your money and transfering it to the chip. This may lead to huge queues in the first day, nulling the purpose of saving you ordering time.
The second problem resides in the policy of a minimum value charge, where the charging of the bracelet can only be done with certain values. While for the large majority of festival-goers this is well within their consuming, having a minimum charge is kind of absurd. There is still a considerable lot of people who can, and do, spend an entire day of festival consuming just water or a very few beers, that will not amount to the total charge they have made. Worse than that, sometimes the prices aren’t even rounded to a multiple of the original charged value, therefore keeping some extra unused euros on the cards that will not be spent.
But, of course, in some other festivals you may reclaim your unspent money back at the end of the day or even after the festival ends. This fixes all, right? …Maybe. Let’s now talk about the other spectra of consumer, the heavy drinker who will charge many euros to the chip and can be at ease for the day, ordering beer after beer in quick time. And that’s terrific! But fast-forward to 5 A.M., leaving the festival site completely drunk and cannot waiting anymore for the Uber to take him or her to the hotel. Would you have the patience or capacity to wait in line to reclaim back your 10 euros-ish? If so, great, you should. If not and in case this was the last day of festival, well good luck. Even if there are ways to reclaim the money online or in some locals in the city some days after, a problem like Primavera Sound Festival a few years ago may occur, where the system responsible for those transactions shut down, leaving many to giving up reclaiming their money.
And what happens to that money, do we know? Well, sometimes we do and it is actually put to noble causes. LISB-ON Jardim Sonoro, a festival in Eduardo XVI Park in Lisbon, donates the money to animal shelter’s organizations, for example. There can be many creative ways to give away that money, and probably the most “deserved” one should be as a tip to the barmen around the festival, since this system may be forgetful to the tipping act. Take notes, promoters, because being open and rightful to your consumers who spent that money is fundamental, even before they decide to buy you a ticket.
But isn’t it all cons, is it? Absolutely not. The advantage of this system is security. For example, you could attend a whole festival without having a single coin in your wallet. Also, the time shortage in ordering drinks is to consider in big crowded festivals. I guess the main focus of this rant is: are we creating a problem where there wasn’t none? There is no correct answer for this, it's always important to try new methods to keep improving. And of course, to each festival their own. After all these things considered, the festival's past experiences, the existence of past problems concerning this and also its core-nature or motif should be the barometer to the implementation of this technology, in an honest and frontal manner. Because shouldn't the bond in your wrist be as strong as your bond to the fest?