Download Festival

Download Festival – A Cashless Festival! Stroke of genius or potential disaster?

In a couple of days time I will be headed off to Download festival at Castle Donington.  Download is not just the UK’s premier rock and metal festival, it also has the reputation for being one of the most innovative.

Download is known as the spiritual home of British rock and has been held on the same site since 2003.  prior to that date the Monsters of Rock festival was held on the same site.  The first download festival gave festival fans a code on their ticket which allowed them to download free tracks from the bands who played the festival.

This year there are to new innovations.  Firstly the festival is offering free WiFi across the site, but most importantly Download is the first major UK festival to go totally cashless.  Yep cashless!  Every beer, burger and piece of merchandise on the site must be payed for using the cashless system.

Every ticket carries a barcode and number.  Everyone must preregister for the cashless system before attending the festival.  Once registered you can pre-load cash onto the system.  On arrival at the site attendees are issued a wristband that is fitted with an ‘RFID’ computer chip which carries details of how much cash you loaded and other details like which parts of the site your are allowed to access.  For example my wristband will allow me access to the press area, photo pit and the arena.

There are some obvious advantages to having a festival go cashless, less cash, less to steal.  In theory queues should be shorter, no faffing with change, no fumbling with cash.  The system sounds absolutely brilliant with one caveat.  It has to work!  Properly!

I don’t want to frighten anyone but this is the 13th Download.  What could possibly go wrong??

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