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RFID Devices and the New Age of Music Festivals: A Heads Up for Retailers

Bonnaroo RFID bracelet - 2015

The day finally came when I received my Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival tickets in the mail. I purchased my tickets the first day they went on sale, and I had been waiting for this day for several months. I am not a music festival veteran; this will be my first year attending Bonnaroo or any music festival, so I didn’t really know what to expect when I received the tickets. My friends had told me that they come in creative packaging and I should also expect to receive a wristband that is to be worn during the duration of the festival. However, what I did not realize was the wristbands are embedded with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip and are registered to the individual patron before the event.

The RFID wristbands are used for admission to the event, including the festival tollbooths to gain admissions to the camping grounds, to check in at the various stages during the performances, as well as post images to Facebook and Twitter. They allow festival goers to quickly and efficiently post their experience on social media, so they can stay connected and share their experiences with all their friends (not a bad marketing strategy, I might add).

Earlier today, I registered my wristband and it asked me for my full name, email, phone number, and an emergency contact’s information. To me this seemed quite ingenious because now my wristband has become a safety device, not just a social media tool. In the event that anything were to happen to me, such as a heat stroke (Bonnaroo is held in Tennessee in the height of the summer where temperatures average in the 90’s-100’s), my bracelet can be scanned by the medical staff, and they will not only have my full name, they will have my emergency contact’s information as well. This is a wonderful safety feature that ensures everyone has a fun, safe experience.

Other music festivals around the world use similar wristbands that can even act as your payment method. If the festival has opted for that type of RFID wristband and payment processing, you can enjoy a cashless experience. Bonnaroo does not currently support RFID payment processing, but maybe as RFID payment processing gains acceptance, they will support it in the future (hint, hint, Bonnaroo, that would make my life a lot easier). For the festivals that already support this, it can reduce the amount of theft and greatly increase the amount patrons spend at the festival. Think about it: If I run out of cash at Bonnaroo, I will be less willing to spend money because I don’t want to pay the enormous ATM fees or stand in the lengthy lines. If I was using a cashless system, I could easily spend infinite amounts of money without even thinking twice about it.

So, as a retailer, why should you care about what music festivals are doing? Because music festivals just happen to be one example on how RFID devices are used. Retailers can utilize RFID devices in a variety of ways. RFID devices open up a vast array of possibilities in the payment processing world, and like mobile wallets and other conveniences, they will be showing up everywhere before you know it. As a retailer, stay ahead of the game—think now about how you can utilize RFID devices to create a better customer experience.