Event Industry News goes behind the scenes at We Are FSTVL


At the end of May, we had the pleasure of being invited behind-the-scenes at We Are FSTVL as the organisers put last-minute touches in place before the big weekend.

Speaking to festival co-founder, Steve Durham, and PlayPass’ managing director for UK and Ireland, Steve Jenner, we were given an exclusive look at what goes in to organise the 70,000+ capacity event.

Durham, who co-founded the festival with Reece Miller, described discovering a gap in the market for a dance music festival and began the search for a suitable venue, visiting around 75 sites in total.

“Demand grew and grew and grew”


Welcoming up to 15,000 fans at its first event seven years ago, the festival has enjoyed a steady increase in sales every year since and now hosts up to 70,000 festival-goers.

Citing little competition as the reason for the growing popularity, Durham said: “Nothing like this had been done before in this area. No doubt about it, in the south, they love their techno, they love their drum and bass, they love their house… everything this area had in a club perspective, it was missing in an outdoor and festival perspective.”

From money to tokens to cashless

After trialling Playpass’ cashless solutions last year in the VIP area, Miller and Durham decided roll the cashless technology out across the entire festival. Playpass returned this year to provide their expertise, services and equipment.

The cashless solution involved using RFID chips in the wristbands that allowed users to pay with simply one tap. This slashed queue-times, improved customer experience and increased safety on site.

Jenner, who oversaw the implementation of the cashless technology, commented: “It was pretty straight forward for these guys because they already had the token system, they already had the communication and processes in place through that.”


Durham has yet to respond to Event Industry News’ requests for a comment on the widely-reported stampedes that took place on day one of the festival. In a statement, organisers cited “technical issues” as the reason behind fans being left stranded at the gates for hours at a time.

Jenner commented: “The incident experienced at the gates was not related to PlayPass but we worked alongside other suppliers to support the organisation and quickly resolve the situation.”

Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: molly@eventindustrynews.com