Cashless leaders Playpass and Weezevent merge
Leading European cashless payments companies Weezevent, based in Dijon, and Playpass, headquartered in Antwerp, have merged.
The new Playpass-Weezevent group comprises six offices with more than 100 employees and 1,200 event clients, including major festivals such as Lollapalooza (Paris, Berlin and Chile), Rock Werchter, Main Square (pictured), Hellfest, Rock en Seine and Austria’s Frequency and Nova Rock. The companies, which have a combined annual turnover of over £400 million (€466m), also provide cashless solutions for sports brands such as Formula 1, Red Bull Air Race, Paris St Germain FC, Lausanne FC and the World Darts Championship.
It is hoped that by joining forces the firms can make NFC (near-field contact) wristbands and cards as ubiquitous for payments at UK festivals as they are in continental Europe.
Post-merger, Steve Jenner of PlayPass and Olly Goddard of Weezevent jointly head up the group’s UK and Republic of Ireland division. The deal will also lead to the expansion of the companies’ offices in Paris, Madrid, Antwerp, Lausanne and Montreal and their in-house development staff.
Paying tribute to Playpass co-founders David De Wever and Dale Hofkens, Weezevent’s CEO, Pierre-Henri Deballon, says: “David, Dale and their teams share the same passion and vision as Weezevent for delivering a world-class cashless experience, and after eight years of healthy competition the time has come to form a new team that is stronger, more ambitious and more confident than ever.”
“The return to a normal post-Covid situation will accelerate the adoption of cashless everywhere. This is about being ready”
De Wever adds: “Our two companies are highly complementary and the consolidation of our expertise and experience now makes it possible to form the leader in cashless event solutions. The return to a normal post-Covid situation will accelerate the adoption of cashless everywhere. This is about being ready for the market while continuing to innovate.”
Last year, says Goddard, “promised a much wider adoption of cashless technology at events before our industry was put into lockdown. Though this natural progression was interrupted, we are looking forward to a productive 2021 and beyond, and our merger with PlayPass will put us in an even stronger position to deliver what consumers want and events need.”
British festivals planning their return this summer using the group’s cashless technology include Standon Calling, 2000 Trees, Black Deer, ArcTanGent, Lakefest, Neverworld and the inaugural UnLocked Festival.
“As a competitor we have always held the utmost respect for Weezevent, in particular the strength of their technology, team and commitment to improving the visitor experience,” adds Jenner. “To join forces with them at this time is a really exciting opportunity for us, our clients and the UK’s live events industry, placing us in a much stronger position to not only help the sector get back on its feet faster, but to emerge stronger than ever.”
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Eurosonic partners with PlayPass
Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS), Europe’s largest showcase festival for emerging talent, has partnered with cashless payment provider PlayPass.
Festivalgoers, delegates and artists will be able to make payments at all 42 ESNS locations using an NFC wristband, mobile wallet or payment card. All payment options will be accepted on a single, PlayPass-provided point-of-sale device.
Each attendee will be issued with a personalised, electronic wristband upon registration at the event. Funds can be loaded onto the wristband via PlayPass self-service top-up kiosks or the Payconiq mobile application for visitors from the Netherlands and Belgium.
PlayPass will also invite event organisers attending ESNS to take a behind-the-scenes look at its technology and operations.
“We are very proud to become a partner to Eurosonic Noorderslag and are extremely excited to be showcasing new capabilities at such a prestigious event”, says David De Wever, CEO and co-founder of PlayPass.
“We believe that the features we are presenting at Eurosonic will be a true game-changer for the live events industry”
“We believe that the features we are presenting at Eurosonic will be a true game-changer for the live events industry and we look forward to showing promoters how they can yield significant gains, both financial and in visitor loyalty, through intelligent use of our technology and the invaluable data it generates.”
“ESNS believes it is important to lead the way in innovations in the music industry,” says Dago Houben, managing director of ESNS, which first introduced cashless payments in 2013.
“It is now time to make the next step and improve on every aspect. With the state-of-the-art system that PlayPass provides, we feel confident improving the quality of payments and services on all levels and for all involved,” adds Houben.
ESNS 2019 attracted over 42,000 guests from 44 countries, including 4,100 conference delegates and representatives from 423 festivals. The event showcased 342 acts across more than 40 stages.
PlayPass hails record summer for cashless & RFID at UK festivals
Cashless and NFC specialist PlayPass has enjoyed a record-breaking summer, operating at over 250 events across 22 countries over five continents and processing 12.82 million cashless transactions, worth €78 million euros. Globally, 2019 has seen the company grow its event roster by 40%.
The UK has seen the sharp end of this growth curve, with a 400% increase in events embracing the company’s solutions to improve their visitor experience, increase spend per head, operate more efficiently and eliminate fraud.
This year saw PlayPass deliver more than 80% of all commercial UK cashless and RFID festival activations, reinforcing its position as the market leader and building on a solid four-year track record for reliability in festival fields. While many implementations focused on going fully cashless, some events used the technology to combat accreditation fraud, while others wanted to create a more immersive visitor experience. One even used it to help people climb up walls!
Here, Steve Jenner, PlayPass’s UK managing director, relays his ten proudest deployments from the UK’s biggest summer of RFID yet, in order of delivery date…
Some events used the tech to combat accreditation fraud, while others wanted to create a more immersive visitor experience. One even used it to help people climb up walls
1. We Are FSTVL, 24–26 May, became the UK’s first major festival to successfully go fully cashless. A flawless RFID operation provided a fast, queue-free experience inside the event, attended by 70,000.
Steve Durham, director of We Are FSTVL, says: “We were delighted to partner with PlayPass – they gave us the confidence to say ‘we can do this’, and the feedback we’ve had from the public is that it was super-easy and super-smooth.”
2. Black Deer, 21–23 June, contracted PlayPass to take the festival fully cashless as well as using the staff accreditation system. As well as giving visitors a hassle-free experience, the country and americana festival went on to smash previous UK records for online pre-event top-ups and reported a significant spend-per-head uplift. The increase in service speed took some traders by surprise, including Pizza of Dreams, who sold out of stock during the event.
Chris Russell-Fish, Black Deer’s operations director, says: “I’m delighted to say that it’s worked brilliantly. We’ve had no queues, the system has been easy to use – far better and more secure than dealing with cash – and our spend per head has been significantly higher than last year. We’ve had great feedback from the audience, traders and bar managers and I’m sure we’ll look to enhance it further next year.”
3. Smoked & Uncut, 15 June, 6 July, 27 July. With capacities ranging from 3,000 to 5,000, this trio of sold-out one-day shows with an older audience demographic experienced a solid uplift in spend per head, going fully cashless for the first time.
Lotti Eagles, head of marketing for Smoked & Uncut: “Using PlayPass’s system benefited both the customer experience and our experience as organisers. Queues at bars and food stalls were reduced and it has allowed us to far more accurately track spends, which meant we could be far more prepared ahead of the next event, as well as use this data to guide our plans for 2020.”
“The data mine that we’ve got, that will enable us to run the event more efficiently from an accreditation point of view, is mind-blowing”
4. British Summer Time, 5–7 July, 12–14 July. We rolled out our crew management and access control systems to eliminate the risk of accreditation fraud on all six Hyde Park shows. Several thousand crew working onsite were issued with secure RFID wristbands encoded with their professional credentials, which were scanned at back-of-house checkpoints, where security was paramount.
5. 2000trees, 11–13 July. After a highly successful leap to cashless last year, yielding a reported 24% increase in bar spend, the award-winning 10,000-capacity Cotswolds punk-rock fest added our crew accreditation system for year two. Through fine-tuning the cashless operation, they were also able to achieve another sizeable uplift in spend per head.
Festival director Brendan Herbert on the accreditation system: “Through this, we’ve learned so much about our event and all the crew, press, VIP guests and artists that come here. The data mine that we’ve got that will enable us to run the event more efficiently from an accreditation point of view is mind-blowing, so we’re already very excited about using it next year to put new ideas into practice.”
6. Bluedot, 18–21 July. One of the proudest, most exciting projects in my career, this was our biggest UK operation of the summer, with over 500 devices in the field and a team of 14 on site. It was also a huge year for Bluedot, having sold out its expanded capacity of 21,000 and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. It was the perfect moment to go fully cashless, and – as a festival themed on space-age technology – it was important that the tech was used for more than just cashless convenience.
Enter the ‘Mission Log’. Conceived by Bluedot’s creative team, this used our new gamification services for the first time in the UK to give visitors a more immersive festival experience. RFID scanners mounted in upright podiums around the site enabled visitors to check in at over 400 attractions, including live performances, talks, exhibits and sponsor activations. After the event, they could log in to the Bluedot website using their wristband ID to view their ‘Mission Log’, reliving their personal experience of the event with links for deeper content. It was a big leap for Bluedot and undoubtedly a giant one for festival-kind.
“Through rain and shine, wi-fi and power outages, even a gate stampede, our technology and operational crew have proven to be highly resilient, flexible and reliable this summer”
Bar operator Marc Daly, of Field Vision, says: “Working with PlayPass at Bluedot saw our transaction speed increase, queues reduce and ancillary costs reduce. We had less security on site as no physical money needed to be transported or counted. Our risk of theft reduced to almost zero, and our build and de-rig times reduced as less equipment needed to be set up and distributed. The PlayPass team were always efficient and easy to deal with and I look forward to working with them next year.”
7. Neverworld, 1–3 August. The festival formerly known as Leefest levelled -up this year with an attendance boost to 6,000 and a fully cashless site. Every ticket came pre-loaded with £26 of cashless credit, meaning that 100% of the audience had money on their wristbands as soon as they were through the gates. The result was a queue-free experience from start to finish and a highly successful transition to cashless.
Brian Meredith, from Neverworld’s board, credited PlayPass’ onsite team who, he says, were “just great and could not have been more helpful”.
8. These Walls Are Meant for Climbing, 10–11 August. We went from green fields to London’s Westfield shopping centre for ‘It’s Bigger’ agency, adapting our tech for this action-sports fest hosted by outdoor clothing label the North Face. Interactive climbing experiences, alongside live music and DJs, saw our handheld scanners built into the top of ten climbing walls.
A thousand participants each day were issued removable RFID wristbands so they could log their climb by checking-in when they reached the top. Using our new gamification services, this triggered an automated email containing a special offer voucher from the North Face they could redeem in the high street.
“We look forward to continued success with our existing UK clients and introducing many more events to the benefits they can attain with our solutions”
9. Lakefest, 8–11 August. A major onsite cash theft in 2018 prompted Lakefest’s organisers to make the jump to cashless. Coinciding with a sizeable increase in attendance to 12,000, it proved a highly successful endeavour that was well-received by the family heavy audience.
10. London Dessert Festival, 16–17 August. The capital’s sweetest new food festival, in London’s Old Truman Brewery, went fully cashless with us for its first edition to give customers and vendors a smoother experience and avoid the costs and complexities of cash management. Six thousand visitors were issued RFID cards which they could top up with funds online (in advance) or on site to spend on delicious puddings at 50 stands.
Steve Jenner, pictured with the PlayPass team at Bluedot, comments: “Through rain and shine, wi-fi and power outages, even a gate stampede, our technology and operational crew have proven to be highly resilient, flexible and reliable this summer. I’m particularly proud of the positive feedback from our clients, praising the results we’ve achieved on their behalf – for giving their visitors a better experience alongside consistent commercial uplift and improved security across all sites.
“We look forward to continued success with our existing UK clients and introducing many more events to the benefits they can attain with our solutions.”
PlayPass confirms more cashless UK festivals and new capabilities
Brexit uncertainty has not inhibited the independent festival sector’s appetite for investing in NFC technology this year, as PlayPass prepares to deliver its busiest cashless festival season to date. Armed with a powerhouse of new innovations built to enhance sustainability, improve the festival experience for families with children and for integration with mobile apps the company has expanded its festival roster.
Joining the award-winning provider’s rapidly expanding client list, and going cashless for the first time, are the 10,000-capacity Lakefest in the Cotswolds, the trio of one-day festivals Smoked & Uncut, the inaugural London Dessert Festival at the Truman Brewery, and a large, high-profile music festival in the north of England that will be announced shortly.
Others already confirmed to make their cashless debut with PlayPass this year include We Are Fstvl, Black Deer, Merthyr Rising and last month’s triumphant Beat Hotel, which burst out of its original home at Glastonbury to become its own globe-trotting festival – first stop: Marrakesh.
2000Trees, which introduced PlayPass’s NFC cashless and access-control system last year and reported an instant 24% increase in spend-per-head, will be adding PlayPass’ accreditation and crew management solution to the mix this year. Having also been specified by AEG Presents’ British Summer Time in Hyde Park, We Are Fstvl and Black Deer, this system will streamline the registration and onsite management of non-customers and eliminate crew fraud across multiple festivals this summer.
Following a venture-capital fund investment last year and investing in a self-sufficient UK operation, PlayPass has underpinned its advances in the UK festival market with a set of game-changing enhancements to its cashless platform in line with clients’ requests.
New family accounts will enable parents to quickly and easily set up and then manage separate cashless wallets for their whole family group under a single user login.
“2019 is shaping up to be a truly exciting year for PlayPass”
Gamification is a fun application of the technology, allowing events to set on-site challenges for visitors to earn instant rewards that are automatically loaded to their wristband as credits or vouchers, to be redeemed on-site. This could be as simple as encouraging people to enter the gates early, or turned into a Pokémon Go-type game, incentivising visitors to visit multiple locations around the site.
A new click-and-collect system gives improved customer experience when on site and has proven to increase revenue by allowing visitors to purchase up-sells (products and access to premium facilities) before the event, in the same transaction as their cashless credits. These up-sell items can be loaded on to their wristbands and redeemed at an on-site collection point.
PlayPass technology is also helping events enhance their sustainability. At the simplest level the company can provide recycled wristbands, but more complex tech solutions for onsite cup and plate recycling are now available, as well as carbon travel cost offsetting and instantly rewarding visitors for being more green.
PlayPass’s technology is now seamlessly integrated into the leading festival mobile apps, including Aloompa, Greencopper and Buzznog, allowing event-goers to manage their cashless accounts, top-up funds, take part in gamified challenges and earn rewards for being more green, all in-app.
Steve Jenner, PlayPass’s recently promoted managing director for the UK and Ireland, comments: “2019 is shaping up to be a truly exciting year for PlayPass. We’ve grown significantly, been appointed by many renowned UK festivals and introduced new services that will increase both the financial profitability and ecological sustainability of our client events, whilst giving their visitors a much better experience.
“We look forward to a summer of ground-breaking case studies, working with many of the UK’s most progressive and visionary event producers.”
PlayPass promotes Steve Jenner, expands in UK
PlayPass has strengthened its UK operations, promoting Steve Jenner to the role of managing director for the UK and Ireland to address growing demand, as more festivals go cashless with the provider.
Jenner, who joined the company in 2015, will lead an expanded team which includes the appointment of Ben Hirons, formerly of Gorilla and Peppermint and Creative Bars, who will oversee event delivery.
It has also been announced that We Are Fstvl and Beat Hotel will go fully cashless with PlayPass this year. At 55,000 capacity, We Are Fstvl is the company’s largest cashless UK event to date.
Black Deer and Merthyr Rising festivals will also go completely cashless for the first time in 2019. The organisers of 2000Trees festival, which transitioned to cashless last year, reported a 24% increase in bar spend per head, among other gains, and have signed with PlayPass again for this year.
“PlayPass’ proven technology is gaining the trust of a growing number of festivals who can see the benefits to them, their public and their traders”
Jenner says he is “delighted” to become UK managing director and “very confident in delivering the company’s busiest and most successful year to date in the UK.”
“We are looking forward to integrating our technology and supporting these new clients in delivering successful events this year,” comments Jenner.
“PlayPass’ proven technology is gaining the trust of a growing number of festivals who can see the wide range of ever-increasing benefits to them, their public and their traders.”
Jenner presented the cashless provider’s latest innovations to international promoters and production professionals at the ILMC’s New Technology forum this month, with a focus on enhancing sustainability at events and improving the experience for families with children.
Smart money: Put your money where your wrist is
Since bursting onto the festival circuit around five years ago, the popularity of cashless payment technology has grown exponentially, with cashless solutions – usually delivered via an RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip attached to a wristband or festival pass – now a familiar sight at some of the world’s most popular events.
After a bumpy start (including high-profile failures at events such as Download and Hurricane Festival), cashless tech has shed its growing pains and is now common across much of mainland Europe. It’s also fast making inroads into largely cashless-resistant markets such as the UK and US, where event promoters, like their continental cousins, are drawn to its sales uplift potential – 15-30%, according to Payzone – and contactless-native audiences to its security and ease of use.
A French revolution
According to Steve Jenner, UK business development director for Belgium-based PlayPass, Britain is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to cashless payment take-up – although it is catching up fast. “Outside the UK, it is now uncommon for an event not to use RFID for payments – to the extent that there is very little noise generated by it, with no debate needed beforehand and no audience fuss after,” he explains. “The established systems now work offline, avoiding the well-publicised issues that affected some of the earlier adopters, like Download in the UK and Hurricane in Germany, both in 2015.
“The UK – while later to the party than most other markets – is now catching up rapidly, following three highly successful summers of cashless festival implementations. PlayPass has doubled its overall worldwide growth in 2018, but we have tripled the number of UK events we work with, and are on course to do at least the same in 2019.”
“On the whole, the UK market has not yet switched to cashless,” agrees Pierre-Henri Deballon, co-founder and CEO of Dijon-based Weezevent, which provides cashless solutions for some of the biggest events in France. Referencing Download 2015 – whose cashless-only set-up was criticised by many festivalgoers after it failed on the first day, leading to the reinstatement of cash payments the following year – Deballon compares barriers to adoption in the UK and other largely non-cashless markets to flying: “It’s similar to aviation,” he says. “It’s the safest way to travel but if one aircraft fails then people become scared of flying.”
“The UK – while later to the party than most other markets – is now catching up rapidly, following three highly successful summers of cashless festival implementations”
Weezevent’s system – which, like PlayPass’s, works offline, avoiding the risk posed by an unstable Internet connection – is used by the majority of France’s cashless festivals, says Deballon, which account for nearly three quarters of the French market. “Of the 100 biggest festivals, 70% of them are cashless,” he says, “and we’re doing 95% of them.”
Weezevent was founded in 2008 by Deballon, Sébastien Tonglet and Yann Pagès, and went cashless with its first major client, France’s biggest festival, les Vieilles Charrues, in 2015. “All the other festivals looked at what they were doing, saw how successful it was and decided to switch,” Deballon explains. “Maybe if Download  had succeeded, it would have been the same in the UK market.”
Reshad Hossenally, founder and managing director of UK- based Event Genius, says the market for cashless technology “is always rising. As a relatively new technology, when compared with the likes of online ticketing and traditional access control, there is a big pool of events and festivals that have the potential to make the switch to cashless and benefit as a result.
“Between 2017 and 2018, we have doubled the number of events we have serviced,” he continues, “with lots more events for the winter booked in on top of this.
“As the technology becomes more widely adopted, it is also opening up a broader range of industries. We’ve used our technology at music festivals; food and drink festivals; winter and Christmas carnival events; large-scale clubbing and warehouse events and more, and are targeting even more sectors for 2019.”
“Like all technologies, cashless technology develops at a mile a minute, and the technology used back in 2015 is well and truly a thing of the past”
Hossenally says RFID payment technology has come on in leaps and bounds since the dark days of 2015 – something the company is keen to make clear to event organisers. “What we always try to communicate is that, like all technologies, cashless technology develops at a mile a minute,” he explains, “and the technology used back in 2015 is well and truly a thing of the past. Today the tech is far more advanced, reliable and robust.
“Major failures are often related to networking issues. At Event Genius, we have developed our solution, Event Genius Pay, to be able to run completely offline, mitigating any possibility of downtime.”
It’s easy to see why downtime is such a major concern for cashless events: for festivals, especially – where the trading ‘year’ is compressed into just two or three days – any outage could be catastrophic. “If the system fails, it would have many impacts,” says Deballon. “We service over 200 festivals, and often have maybe 10-20 on any one weekend, and we’ve never had the organiser not being able to sell – if a festival can’t process payments, that’s like a normal business being closed for weeks…”
When it works, however – and it’s worth noting there have been no major festival RFID failures for nearly four years – cashless payment technology benefits event organisers and punters alike. The chief advantages of going cashless, says Jason Thomas, global CEO of Tappit, whose clients include Bestival and Creamfields Hong Kong, as well as several major sporting venues, “can all be summed up in three main points: Firstly, it improves the fan experience. Secondly, it increases revenues through speeding up transactions and significantly reducing fraud. And thirdly, it gives event organisers valuable data and insights.”
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Why NFC cashless is the future of payments at events
Contactless is now the leading payment method in everyday life, much to the glee of the banking sector that controls and feeds off it, but live events have a much more powerful – and lucrative – alternative available to them.
NFC technology allows smart event owners to run their own ‘closed loop’ financial eco-system, which leaves the banks outside the front gates and gives the event full and direct ownership of every payment transaction taking place on site, with no middlemen siphoning off the data and charging a commission.
Benefits are concentrated with the event and its visitors rather than a third-party financial institution that has not shared any of the promoter’s risk in putting on the event.
- Greater spend per head: UK festivals last year reported a 24% increase in bar spend per head as a result of going fully cashless with PlayPass.
- Higher customer satisfaction: 92% of visitors surveyed by Standon Calling, the UK’s first ever music festival to go cashless, find PlayPass easier and more convenient than other payment methods, and 89% would prefer not to bring any cash or cards to an event.
- Visibility and ownership of all transactional data: More event owners recognise the importance of data and claiming ownership of transactional insights will pay dividends, particularly in establishing fairer deals with traders and concessions.
- Increased efficiencies and reduced costs: From validating tickets to staffing a bar, a scanner device is significantly quicker than a person, eliminates theft and human error and gives average savings of 4% compared to non-cashless events. Unlike contactless, PlayPass’s NFC system works fully offline by writing to the chip.
- Reduced crime and better security: A lost NFC tag can be replaced on site in seconds with the balance intact. Traders, who often employ unknown casual staff, don’t have to worry about theft from the cash register. Event organisers no longer need to worry about forged tickets or passes.
- Improved sustainability: PlayPass’s NFC payment system has a lot of powerful, automated features designed to streamline on-site recycling initiatives, account for carbon travel costs and reward visitors for ecologically minded behaviour.
- Drives pre–event upsells and earlybird ticket sales: Eventgoers can purchase items pre-event or give post-event options to convert unspent funds into a down payment on next year’s ticket, keeping the money in the event’s pot whilst providing value to the customer.
- Traders prefer it: Cashless gets traders’ thumbs up, due to higher-spending crowds, the elimination of cash management, no risk of theft and automated reconciliation contributing to improved festival experience… and profit.
- Better for cash flow: Events that offer pre-loading capabilities benefit from receiving this revenue before the event has started. UK festivals working with PlayPass receive around 80% of their total food and beverage revenue ahead of the event.
- A haven from a bank-controlled world: Festival culture has always been synonymous with escaping from the real world – owning your data and transactions promotes independence and freedom.
The world over, progressive event brands are now embracing PlayPass’s NFC cashless solutions and taking control of their on-site economies without a backward glance.
For more information about taking control of your event’s financial ecosystem with a closed-loop NFC payment solution, visit the PlayPass website.
PlayPass acquires French cashless provider Yuflow
RFID technology company PlayPass has acquired the French cashless payment provider, Yuflow, as part of its global expansion programme.
The acquisition of Yuflow allows PlayPass to expand into key European markets. Yuflow has used NFC wristbands to process payments from more than two million visitors at over 200 events, including FrancoFolies de la Rochelle and Jazz à Vienne (7,000-daily cap.).
Yuflow will now operate as an independent subsidiary using PlayPass technology, and will retain its original name and identity. Yuflow’s co-founders, Martin Rigot-Muller and Jean-Alexandre Janoray, will remain in charge of the company.
Rigot-Muller comments: “PlayPass has the best understanding of event organisers’ needs and the most complete solution in the market. This development gives Yuflow an unparalleled advantage in our ambitions to lead the cashless events sector in France and Switzerland, as well as expanding our horizons as part of a fast-growing global player.”
“PlayPass has the best understanding of event organisers’ needs and the most complete solution in the market”
PlayPass, named Best Festival Technology Provider at the 2019 Festival Supplier Awards last week, supplies cashless payment technology to festivals including Lollapalooza Berlin and Santiago (80,000-cap.), Rock Werchter (88,000-cap.) and British Summer Time Hyde Park (65,000-cap.).
The company has expanded greatly since launching in 2012, working at over 600 events worldwide and processing more than €50 million in payments. PlayPass secured €1.9m in funding from Dutch venture-capital firm Newion Investments in August.
Chief executive David de Wever states that Yuflow has cultivated “strong commercial and operational footprints in France and Switzerland”, key markets in PlayPass’s global expansion programme.
Yuflow’s approach and position in the market “fits with our [PlayPass’s] strategy of combining organic growth with strategic acquisitions to become the market leader in the key live event markets over the next few years,” explains de Wever.
More UK music festivals go cashless
The Cotswolds’ 2000 Trees has become the latest UK festival to go 100% cashless with a PlayPass-supplied RFID system.
The 10,000-capacity, three-day event – whose most recent edition was held from 12 to 14 July 2018 – deployed 100 point-of-sale terminals across 55 sales outlets, with visitors incentivised to pre-register and load funds before the festival with a £10 or £15 bonus credit if they topped up £100 and £150, respectively.
Festival director Andy Rea reported a “significant” increase in bar sales, along with a reduction in queueing times, with transaction times down to 40 seconds.
“Twenty-eighteen has been a momentous year for us with our move to cashless,” says Rea. “It was a decision we had been deliberating for a couple of years; I think it is a very positive step forward for our festival that we are really proud of.”
“You can’t underestimate the convenience it adds to the customer experience, not having to worry about bringing cash and keeping it safe – plus the tech helped render queues almost non-existent, allowing people to spend more time enjoying the festival. The positive feedback we’ve had from our audience, traders and staff has reinforced our belief that we made the right choice in going cashless and appointing PlayPass.”
“Queues were almost non-existent, allowing people to spend more time enjoying the festival”
Also doing away with paper money was Northern Ireland’s Jika Jika! Festival, which made its debut on 25 and 26 August in Ebrington Square, Londonderry.
Event Genius supplied the RFID technology, which increased spending by 23% per head when compared to prior Jika Jika! events held on the same site last year.
“We’ve been hugely impressed with Event Genius Pay,” says festival director James Crossan. “The solution speeds up transactions at the bar and makes it easy for fans to top up credit, allowing them to spend more time enjoying the music and less time waiting in queues.”
Lauren Lytle, newly appointed head of technical operations at Event Genius, adds: “It’s been a privilege to be able to help Jika Jika! make a resounding success of their debut festival.
“From start to finish their team’s commitment to ensuring their fans have the best possible time has been amazing and it’s great to have been the first RFID payment provider to deliver a fully cashless festival in Northern Ireland.”
PlayPass secures €1.9 million in new funding
PlayPass, the RFID company that lists Ticketmaster, Dice, Live Nation and AEG Presents among its client list, has secured €1.9 million in its latest round of capital funding from Amsterdam-based VC Newion Investments.
Speaking about PlayPass’ plans, co-founder and CEO David de Wever comments, “We will continue to develop innovative technology, expanding our own local operational teams across our international territories as well as extending relationships with strong local partners acting as resellers or licensees.
“Secondly, we will look to accelerate our success in other sectors, including indoor arenas and sports clubs.”
“This capital will fuel our growth and advance our progress to expand and become the global market leader in access and contactless payment solutions for the events market”
While the technology is no stranger to the festival world, RFID is still a popular topic on annual lists of festival trends, with a number of events adopting cashless systems this season. Since its launch in 2012, PlayPass has deployed its technology at festivals including Rock Werchter (340,000 visitors) and Lollapalooza Berlin (80,000), working at over 600 events across the world and processing more than €50 million in payments.
With the vision of expanding their offering further into fixed venues, the company has recently partnered with Belgian football club RSC Anderlecht. Season ticket holders at the club can now use their passes to make cashless payments, using PlayPass technology.
“This capital will fuel our growth and advance our progress to expand and become the global market leader in access and contactless payment solutions for the events market,” adds de Wever.