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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About The Sound of Summer

Hi, I am Alan. I live in Broadstone, Dorset with my wife, Shirley, my son, Ryan and two dogs called Bailey and Jasper. I have recently retired after working in the Armed Forces and in Public Service since 1977 so I now have a bit more time to do the things I love. Music is a huge part of my life and always has been. I have a broad taste in music and can find something to enjoy in most styles of music. I have always been attracted to music which has something to say, is outside the mainstream and is perhaps a bit rebellious. I guess my early influences were late 1970's Punk and new wave bands, especially those who came out of Northern Ireland where I grew up. I loved Stiff Little Fingers, The Undertones, Rudi, Starjets etc but also bands like The Ramones, The Clash, The Jam and so on. I like singer songwriters including Van Morrison, Springsteen, Neil Young & Bob Dylan and in recent years I have become more interested in folk and acoustic music but I also love the sort of high drive energetic Folk/Punk music delivered by bands like The Levellers, Leatherat, Ferocious Dog and many others who frequent the UK Festival scene. I have long since lost the desire to spend my holidays laying around in the sun and these days am much more likely to be found in a muddy field somewhere in the UK during the festival season.

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