Music festivals and other kinds of outdoor concerts are big business. There are more than 3,000 music festivals each
year in Europe alone, and the live music industry for the E.U. and the U.S. is estimated to be worth at least $46
billion. Tickets are the biggest revenue generator, but onsite sales of beverages, food and merchandise, are also a
significant source of revenue.
Festival goers represent, by some estimates, about 80 million loyal fans in North American and Europe. The audience
is, by and large, teenagers and twenty-somethings, but a number of preteens and even young children also attend,
accompanied by their parents. All in all, it’s a significant market, covering a broad-section of young-minded,
tech-savvy people who enjoy large-scale social experiences.
Managing attendees, staff and purchases
Putting on an event that welcomes thousands of people is a big job. Attendees want an enjoyable, interactive
experience, without having to wait in lines, and festival managers need to manage staffing to ensure that everything
goes smoothly. Also, using cash at the venue can be an issue for festival-goers and managers alike. Carrying cash can
be risky, given pickpockets and other thieves and it can be frustrating to run out if there aren’t any cash
machines near the event or onsite. Accepting cash can be costly, too, since employees can skim profits, and there can
be fees associated with transporting, depositing and insuring cash transactions. Overall, the true cost of supporting
cash can be as high as 15%.
Toward ticketless, cashless events
To streamline operations, reduce costs, and provide a better audience experience, more and more events are doing away
with cash, and even eliminating paper tickets. They key ingredient is MIFARE, the contactless proximity technology
found in public transport, electronic IDs, payment cards and more.
MIFARE comes in a range of form factors, from wristbands and key fobs to stickers and photo IDs, or as part of an app
on a smartphone. Used at several points throughout the event, MIFARE can make music festivals and other large-scale
venues more fun for the audience, and more cost-effective for the organizer.
MIFARE provides a long list of benefits
to attendees and event managers alike
What MIFARE can do for an event
- Access control
Wristbands, and other form factors used as access passes, can be configured for small or large-scale events, and can
be renewed for use at multiple sites. Wristbands can also be mailed in advance, via regular mail, without extra
insurance of special tracking and can be registered online by the attendee, before the event. Built-in security
features make MIFARE-based tickets harder to counterfeit, and make it easier to spot fraud. A tap is all it takes to
enter the venue, so the lines are shorter and move more quickly. Attendees can receive a personal greeting upon
entry, and festival-goers can have premium, paid-for access to fast-track lanes and other special services onsite,
including private toilets, showers and club rooms. MIFARE provides an accurate, real-time view of how many people
are onsite and in which areas. Also, MIFARE’s seamless integration with other functions, like payment and
social media, can serve to increase convenience and foster customer loyalty.
- Cashless payments
Attendees can top up their card or wristband online, before the event, and can retrieve any leftover cash afterward.
Payments go quickly, with authorization averaging between 2 and 4 seconds, so there’s less waiting in line
and a single retail outlet can serve more people. Studies show that people tend to spend more when they don’t
use cash, and having a payment card makes it easier to initiate group purchases and participate in loyalty and
reward schemes. Purchases can be confirmed with an SMS message, so there’s no need for paper receipts, and
people can check their balances using fixed or mobile devices. A single card or wristband is easier to handle, and
less likely to get lost or stolen, than a wad of cash or a pile of coins. Event management can use fixed or handheld
PoS terminals, for greater flexibility, and there’s complete transparency and control over all spending and
merchant activity. MIFARE helps reduce operational costs, and makes it so there’s fewer accounting
discrepancies, and fewer opportunities for employee theft.
- Social media
Social media offers a powerful and cost-effective way to manage customer relationships, giving event managers new
ways to forge a bond with the consumer, increase loyalty and entice a larger pool of their friends and
community-members to visit the event. Connecting wristbands to the wearer’s social media accounts bridges the
physical and digital worlds, and lets fans interact with attractions at the event, or post memorable experiences
online. Management can identify “influencer” fans, targeting them with special offers, and can
initiate follow-on possibilities for after the event. With MIFARE, the marketing costs go down, while market
intelligence goes up, and there’s increased value to all participating brands.
- Audience intelligence
Gathering even simple pieces of information, like age and sex, gives insight into the audience and helps build
better customer relationships. Event managers can tailor events to audience preferences, target new customers more
effectively, increase fan loyalty, and attract more visitors and that in turn makes the event more attractive to
sponsors and commercial partners. Targeted offers, sent before, during, and after the event can increase engagement
and boost revenue, and tracking the responses to those offers can help management plan new ones more effectively.
MIFARE makes it easier to measure the return on investment for promotional activities and campaigns, so the next
event can be even better and even more lucrative.
- Staff and personnel tracking
ID cards or wristbands, worn by onsite staff and personnel, make it possible to know the location and movements of
everyone working the festival at all times. This can reduce the response times for onsite emergency staff, and
enables control of an unlimited number of different areas, with varying access rights. The system can support time
restrictions, to prevent access during off hours and access rights can be issued, changed or updated at any time.
Tracking services can also be made available to attendees, so parents can always know where their kids are and
people attending in groups can find each other easily.
As more event organizers begin using MIFARE at their venues, and more audience members experience the benefits of
MIFARE, the concept of ticketless, cashless events is gaining momentum. The idea is catching on at music festivals,
but at other large-scale events, too, such as sporting events, amusement parks and just about anywhere large groups of
people gather together to have fun and share experiences.
Football, soccer fans support their team and celebrate goal,
score, victory. Full stadium
Cashless payments at Nijmegen’s Valkhof Festival