By David Kenny, TicketCo UK Country Manager

Disruption hurts when you’re the one being disrupted. If there are still any switchboard operators or milkmen alive, I’m pretty sure they can relate to the agony the UK Head of Business Development at PlayPass, Steve Jenner, must have struggled with when writing a response to my guest blog ‘Event industry cashless wristbands are becoming yesterday’s news’.

I feel for the guy. If there is one thing that is certain in life, it is that changes will occur. And what Steve’s response states first and foremost is that he cannot see a reason for this fact of life to hit PlayPass. For a Head of Business Development in an industry in the midst of a tech revolution, to have an attitude like that is quite worrisome.

Lethal ignorance


Anyone in business who ignores how technology continues to innovate and change how we all operate runs the risk of being left behind. Ask Blockbuster, HMV, the Yellow Pages and the like.

Let’s get one thing straight, I didn’t say cashless wristbands are obsolete. I was one of the early on-boarders of cashless in the UK, and I have always championed the benefits, especially from a bar operators point of view. I simply stated they are ‘becoming’ yesterday’s news. Especially with people continuing to adopt a ‘phone first’ attitude to conduct their daily activities, or looking for environmentally friendly solutions, reducing plastic, reducing air-miles transporting equipment/people and reducing waste. And they are.


Of course plenty of event organisers still use cashless wristbands and use them very well. That’s not disputed. However, we and others are experiencing a continued transition by event organisers towards cloud-based technology for a payment solution. Last Autumn our client MFGF Events delivered a fully cashless beer festival for 4,500 people via a 4G signal in rural Scotland. The event was so successful MFGF have signed with TicketCo to provide a cashless solution for all its TrueOriGIN events this year.

 It was therefore interesting to read Steve rather naively claim ‘any system that relies on internet connectivity in a greenfield environment really will be yesterday’s news before it knows it.’

Ultimately his own system relies on an internet connection at the TOP UP point, and at all the points of service if you want to benefit from all of Playpass USP’s. For-example, to retrieve live revenue performance data on-site including bar and merchandise spend.

The journey continues

Steve also claimed it will be a long time before people rely on smart-phone at events. It’s already happening. By way of a couple of examples, we deliver a completely cashless festival for Tysnesfest, a music festival for 20,000 visitors on an island in Norway. While in the UK 5,000 people enjoyed a gin festival at Tobacco Dock, London, using their mobile phones and our app based wallet for all transactions.

As I stated in my original article this is a transition and there will be a continued move towards this technology, as the journey continues.

Years ago people purchased printed out tickets for festivals. And paid for food, drinks and merchandise with cash, or paper tokens. Back then who would have predicted cashless wristbands would be used? Then when they became popular many people were still struggling to get to grips with chip and pin. Sorry what was that you say? Yes, chip and pin – the thing we commonly used before contactless technology.

So, you see, things do change. The world is constantly evolving. As consumers we are seeing new trends take shape each day, and as professionals we need to be at top of things – or else we will end up as switchboard operators, milkmen or any other profession that got disrupted by technology. The fact is that technology is the future. And the future is now.

David Kenny is the Country Manager for TicketCo UK. He has 18 years’ experience in the events industry. David was the original founder of Gorilla Events Ltd, and previously Events Director at Freemans Event Partners, Business Development Manager at Peppermint Events Ltd and the Founder of Gorilla Events Ltd and a multi venue owner.

Previous entries on this topic:
Guest Blog:
Event industry cashless wristbands are becoming yesterday’s news

Click here to read the original blog post

A Response to Guest Blog:
Event industry cashless wristbands are becoming yesterday’s news

Click here to read the response

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.