Over the past five to ten years, innovative and exciting new technologies have become a go-to crowd pleaser for music festivals around the globe. Social media check-in points where you can stream Tweets and pictures onto giant screens, mobile cell phone towers — or COWs (Cell On Wheels) – that keep everyone connected to WiFi and drones that soar over festival crowds taking pictures, video and even dropping off cold drinks to festival goers.
One of the most successful and promising technologies that has been implemented at music festivals is radio-frequency identification, also known as RFID. Festivals use RFID by putting small chips into decorative wristbands worn by attendees, which can be scanned — making access control and entry a breeze. It’s a quick and easy way to tell who is allowed where, and more importantly, who isn’t — all with one scan, making security’s job that much easier. No longer did they have to memorize an entire book of different wristbands, what the credentials looked like, who could and couldn’t go backstage and on and on.
Using RFID tech for music and arts festivals has some serious positives, but for a long time it simply didn’t make sense for smaller festivals with only 5,000 attendees to use the technology. In fact, they might have had only three types of credentials: artist, guest and staff. Why would they need an advanced system to keep track of this? Three credentials seem easy enough for most to handle without using technology. It was too expensive, only offering features that made sense when you had hundreds of staff members with many access points (meaning festivals with crowds of tens of thousands).
Why is RFID technology a fit for festivals with crowds from 5,000 to 50,000?
Costs Have Gone Down
One of the biggest barriers to entry that kept smaller festivals from using RFID in years past was a relatively simple one: it was expensive. When RFID was first being used, yes, the technology itself was more expensive, but the most costly aspect was the hardware and manpower needed to use the technology. You needed big portals or clunky RFID readers for scanning, not to mention the amount of assistance needed for set up, break down and troubleshooting. Now, RFID has been outfitted for the latest iOS and Android products, and can be used with just about any iOS device on the market.
RFID has Become Much Easier To Use and Set Up
Before the mobile revolution, setup and maintenance was a huge pain: portals for scanning, confusing training sessions, and problematic troubleshooting was the norm. It’s easier than ever to train your staff using simple, intuitive and familiar interfaces like tablets and iPods. With some RFID solutions, you can simply download an app and begin scanning right away, easy as that!
RFID helps festivals of all sizes sell more tickets by:
Gaining valuable data
With valuable RFID fan data from festivalgoers, festivals can effectively market to their fan base by segmenting them and offering tailored deals. And through the wristband registration process, festivals collect invaluable information about attendees, which can be used for marketing campaigns and leveraged for sponsorships for years to come.
Creating repeat festivalgoers by providing a memorable experience
RFID wristbands are also more than just a functional aspect to your festival, they add a strong qualitative dimension as well. You can use decorative wristbands that act as great keepsakes for festivals and are usually worn (by some) weeks after the festival has taken place as a badge of honor (additional marketing!). Bristol Rhythm and Roots used a commemorative box to sell their RFID wristbands, which were incredibly well received and embraced by festivalgoers.
Implementing social integration, cashless … the list goes on and on
There are hundreds of ways to get creative with RFID. Integrate your festival with social media such as Facebook and Twitter and let your fans seamlessly post about their unbeatable experience. Encourage more ticket sales by keeping your festival top of mind for your fan’s networks. Implement cashless payments using RFID — your fans will thank you for shorter vendor lines and be sure to tell their friends about how quick, easy and cool it was to make a purchases at your festival.
As RFID is being used by more and more festivals, rest assured that festivals of any size can unlock the benefits that come with this powerful technology.