The UK music festival season may be months away still, but festival-goers elsewhere in Europe are already getting a glimpse of what’s in store for those attending some of Britain’s music mud-fests this year, with microchipped wristbands now being adopted to help combat ticket touting and fraud.
Glastonbury organizer Michael Eavis was one festival promoter taking a look at the technology at the Netherlands’ Eurosonic Noorderslag festival at the weekend. And as the BBC reports, Intellitix, the company behind the writsbands’ development, has confirmed that the technology will be rolled out in time for a handful of UK festivals this year. So this could pave the way for Glastonbury to take up the initiative from 2013, as the festival isn’t taking place this year, with Eavis telling the BBC that it “seems like an incredible system.”
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Although one of the key benefits of the wristbands is that they help to eliminate ticket fraud and touting, the designers say they can also be loaded with money to pay for goods on site, which will appeal to anyone who doesn’t want to carry cash or credit cards around a festival.
It’s not clear yet which UK festivals are set to get the new wristbands, but details are expected to be announced by the end of January, with T in the Park, V Festival or Reading possible contenders for the trial. However, they may opt to test them out at smaller events first to iron out any teething problems.
Anyone who has ever attended a music festival before will be familiar with the lightweight, plastic bands normally dished out at such events. The new wristbands will look and feel much the same, except they’ll come complete with a microchip not too dissimilar to what you get in Transport for London’s Oyster Cards.
Attendees can be scanned in and out of venues, either using automated turnstiles or manual hand-held devices, which may lead the more cynical amongst us to question whether this is just a commercial ploy to extract marketing data. After all, your comings, goings and spending could be monitored.
Around a million fans have already used the wristbands after they were implemented at a few festivals across North America last year, but the Eurosonic festival was the first major European event to use the technology, with more than 3,000 revelers and industry people getting a chance to check out the technology in-situ for the first time.