In recent years, we have seen an increase in the introduction of wearable technology at
festivals and events worldwide.

Apple’s iWatch is the current global market leader in wearable technology, but the festival industry was actually one of the first to pioneer the idea of a wearable piece of technology to improve efficiency and enhance the experience of festival-goers.

RFID (radio frequency identification) technology has reshaped the way festival organisers control access, create new revenue streams, manage transactions, and engage with their
audiences.

Here we take a look into the most popular piece of wearable technology in the festival world today; the RFID wristband. We’ll also explore a couple of the other niche gadgets that may well be seen at a festival very soon.

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Bonnaroo Festival Case Study

preforms at the Bonaroo Music and Arts Festival 2014, Manchester TN.

Working with AC Entertainment and Bonnaroo co-producers Superfly, ID&C regularly
produce upwards of 100,000 custom RFID wristbands to be used in conjunction with a
contactless RFID system. The festival’s RFID system enabled visitors to engage in a number of social media-based activations placed around the festival site.

One interaction enabled fans to ‘tap’ their wristbands and check-in at the various stages,
which in turn automatically posted the line-up they were watching to their Facebook timeline. Additionally, the RFID wristbands were used by fans to gain entry to the festival arenas and campsites, making the need for paper tickets redundant.

While enhancing the fan experience, the use of wearable tech also helped generate millions of social media impressions for the festival and its headline sponsor. See more in this video.

Popular uses of wearable tech at festivals

The social activations and potential for additional sponsor revenues might be an attractive prospect for festival organisers, but the benefits of wearable RFID technology allow the tackling of age-old issues such as queueing times, ticket touting, production and distribution of counterfeit wristbands and encouraging visitors to spend more.

Cashless payments via RFID
It’s a common problem at festivals for attendees to lose their personal possessions and money. RFID technology can be used as a form of payment at the bars and vendors, very similar to using a contactless credit card, so people are free to enjoy themselves without having to worry about losing their wallets.

Lollapalooza adopted RFID payment technology back in 2015 and enabled fans to link their wristbands to their bank accounts. Not only did this help reduce the level of crime at the festival, it also significantly cut queue times and increased spending.

Speedy access control
Swapping a paper ticket for a wearable RFID wristband enables festival organisers to rapidly increase the speed of admissions, while radically enhancing security. The encryption of RFID prevents the chance of forgery and provides organisers with an accurate count of precisely how many ticket holders have entered the site. Add to this the simple fact that the less time people spend standing in a queue, the sooner they will be able to spend money at the festival.

WHAT NEXT?

Lightwave technology
Lightwave technology embedded in a wristband has the ability to collect real-time data on how the wearer moves, their changes in body temperature and audio levels. These insights allow event organisers and musicians to understand which line-ups, artists and songs were most popular, and also to reward audiences as levels increase.

Wearable cameras
It’s now easier than ever to capture great footage of your favourite musicians. You can buy cameras that attach to your clothing and have the ability to share directly to your social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

ID&C & Wearable Technology
Here at ID&C we’ve supplied more than 8 million RFID wristbands to festivals and events
across the globe. Working with some of the largest festivals, including Outlook, Sonar, Standon Calling, Brighton Pride and Dimensions Festival to name a few.
RFID wristband technology can help you connect your event to the digital world, maximise revenue and brand partnerships, improve access control, monitor transactions and capture data insights in order to improve future events.

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com 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.