TicketSwap expands network with Portugal’s Boom
Amsterdam-based resale platform TicketSwap has announced a partnership with long-running festival, Boom.
The partnership includes integration with their ticketing company Weezevent, which allows TicketSwap to void a sold ticket and instead issue new tickets to buyers.
This Secure Swap integration ensures that fans can buy and sell quickly and easily, while providing visibility to the festival organiser.
The partnership with Boom marks TicketSwap’s first foray into Portugal and follows recent launches in Italy and Brazil.
“It’s great to have such a prominent partner for Portugal as we continue on our mission to be the experience platform that every fan loves”
“We are delighted to be working with Boom Festival,” says TicketSwap CEO Hans Ober. “The event is spectacular and people travel from all over the world to be there. We are very pleased to provide a safe and transparent way for fans to sell their tickets at a fair price.”
“TicketSwap have been expanding at a pace. We have set up an office in Brazil, launched in Italy, and we’re hiring our first local staff in the UK, Sweden, and Germany. It’s great to have such a prominent partner for Portugal as we continue on our mission to be the experience platform that every fan loves.”
The 25th edition of Boom festival will take place on 22–29th June 2022.
The event, which takes place every two years, has been ‘exceptionally popular’ on TicketSwap, with nearly 4,000 people registering for tickets and almost 500 tickets sold in the first three days.
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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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Alexandra Palace darts goes cashless with Weezevent
The World Darts Championship returns to Alexandra Palace in London this December, with all payments cashless for the first time in the event’s history thanks to a partnership with Weezevent.
All bars, food and merchandise outlets at the three-week sporting event will be using a cashless payment system powered by Weezevent. The system, which cuts out the need for cash and provides event organisers with visitor and sales data, debuted in the UK festival market at Standon Calling in 2019.
Moving on from the previous paper-based token system, the 85,000 attendees at the World Darts Championship will be able to top up in advance or on site, and make payments using souvenir NFC cards at Weezevent point-of-sale devices.
These cards can be used on repeat visits to the darts series, which runs from 13 December to 1 January, benefitting fans who attend more than once during the darts’ three-week residency at the 10,000-plus-cap. Ally Pally (pictured).
“The benefits to customers will be instantly obvious, with fewer queues at the bars and speedy transactions”
Olly Goddard, UK country manager for Weezevent, says: “Alexandra Palace is one of the most iconic venues in London and we are very much looking forward to bringing our cashless system here through our partnership with the World Darts Championship. The benefits to customers will be instantly obvious, with fewer queues at the bars and speedy transactions.
“Importantly, it will now be a much simpler process to get refunds back from the cards should there be any pre-paid amount left once the darts has finished. Previously, guests would have to send back the paper tokens; with the Weezevent system all refunds are processed online immediately after the event ends. ”
Matt Porter, chief executive of the Professional Darts Corporation, the Worlds Darts Championship organiser, adds: “ I used the Weezevent system at Standon Calling and saw how easy it was to use. Providing a cashless solution to our fans is an important step to improving their experience at the World Darts Championship. As an organisation, we are always looking at ways to improve our offering and with Weezevent we have partnered with a proven and reliable system.”
Weezevent: Celebrating Standon Calling success
A team of eight Weezevent staff were on hand to provide practical advice, guidance and support at Standon Calling in July, as the cashless payments provider marked a successful first year of its partnership with the boutique UK event.
Paris-based Weezevent, which provides cashless solutions for some of the biggest events in France, including Rock en Seine, Hellfest, Lollapalooza Paris and Les Vieilles Charrues, opened a London office in 2017 and signed the 15,000-capacity Standon Calling earlier this year.
“Standon are the festival experts when it comes to RFID and cashless technology,” said Weezevent’s UK country manager, Olly Goddard. “Their decision to become our first festival partner in the UK is an endorsement of our solution and reflects our intention to expand here in the UK, as we have done so in France.”
Standon, this year headlined by Rag’n’Bone Man, Nile Rodgers’ Chic, and Wolf Alice, in 2013 became one of the first UK festivals to introduce a cashless system. After working with two different RFID providers, it moved over to Weezevent for 2019 to take advantage of the company’s cashless and access-control solutions, which work offline avoiding the risks posed by an unstable Internet connection. (As Weezevent co-founder and CEO, Pierre-Henri Deballon, told IQ earlier this year, “If a festival can’t process payments, that’s like a normal business being closed for weeks…”)
All 180 festival staff at bars and restaurants, and 50 independent traders used Weezevent’s cashless payment system, while mobile partner Greencopper allowed festivalgoers who downloaded the Standon Calling app to create and top-up their cashless account online in seconds.
Andrew Snell, founder and director of One Circle Events, which runs Standon’s bars, described the new payment process as “slick, quick and fast.” Snell is no stranger to cashless – he also runs a cash-free pub in London – but is still impressed by the Weezevent system: “It’s seamless,” he commented. “The device is really nice to use – it’s about the size of your iPhone in your hand – and the staff are absolutely loving it.”
“Standon Calling’s decision to become our first festival partner in the UK is an endorsement of our solution and reflects our intention to expand here in the UK”
Despite Weezevent’s growing British footprint, Goddard said the company is committed to providing white-label services for its clients, rather than building awareness of its own brand among consumers. “Our brand is not important,” he commented. “What is important is the technology and the reliability of that technology.”
As an event that welcomes festivalgoers of all ages, Standon Calling also wanted to give families more control over their cashless accounts. Using Weezevent’s technology, access and buying rights were set depending on the age of the attendees, through RFID microchips attached to cashless wristbands.
“It’s the same account on multiple chips,” explained Goddard. “A parent will be able to control how much goes on the children’s wristbands from their phone. So rather than go over and give their kids a tenner, they have them as a subcategory of the their own account and give them a budget to spend.”
Goddard added that Weezevent had its ‘under-18’ mode activated at Standon Calling, which prevents those under legal drinking age from spending money on alcohol.
Standon Calling founder Alex Trenchard was impressed by Weezevent’s festival debut. “The Greencopper app integration reduced the need for as many on-site top-up stations,” he explains, “auto top-up working offline allowed us to increase spend while reducing costs, and the family accounts helped our family audience plan their festival spending better.
“I’m looking forward to continuing our successful partnership with Weezevent as we continue to make the cashless experience as seamless as possible for our attendees at Standon Calling.”
Standon Calling chooses Weezevent UK as cashless provider
UK festival Standon Calling has announced Weezevent as its new cashless provider.
Headlined by Rag’n’Bone Man, Wolf Alice, and Nile Rogers & Chic, Standon Calling takes place from 25 to 28 July 2019. The 15,000-cap. Hertfordshire festival has always been at the forefront when it comes to innovation, having been a cashless event for six years. Packing an unrivalled atmosphere full of music, comedy and arts, hosted across Standon Lordship, the festival always dares to be different, playing host to established headliners, breaking emerging talent, a costume parade, an annual dog show and an outdoor swimming pool.
Festival director Alex Trenchard says: “We are very much looking forward to continuing our cashless journey with Weezevent. We’ve been impressed with their technology, and, as a festival with a significant family presence, Weezevent’s ability to operate multiple wristbands off one email address and bank account offers significant customer service benefits.
“Their decision to become our first festival partner in the UK is an endorsement of our solution”
“Over the last two years, we have also seen a significant growth in customers topping up their RFID accounts via their phones. For the first time this year, we will have a festival app, powered by Greencopper, whose Weezevent integration will make it much easier for customers to check their balances and top up.”
The move to Weezevent follows the recent appointment of Olly Goddard as its UK country manager. “Standon are the festival experts when it comes to RFID and cashless technology,” he comments. “Their decision to become our first festival partner in the UK is an endorsement of our solution and reflects our intention to expand here in the UK, as we have done so in France.
“I’ve always loved Standon and am really looking forward to working with Alex and his team.”
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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Olly Goddard joins Weezevent as UK country manager
Olly Goddard, formerly head of ticketing, touring and festivals, at Broadwick Live/Global, has joined Weezevent as country manager for the UK.
Goddard will spearhead Weezevent’s push into the British market, as the French RFID/cashless payments provider continues to grow internationally. The company launched in the UK and Ireland in March 2017.
Prior to joining Global, where he oversaw the company’s portfolio 16 festivals, as well as the 5,000-capacity Printworks venue in London, Goddard spent nine years at promoter Metropolis Music, heading up ticketing strategy and working with artists including Coldplay, Eminem and Oasis.
Goddard’s experience will “bring the right insights to encourage the adoption of Weezevent’s solutions” in the UK market, according to the company.
He comments: “I am delighted to be joining Weezevent and look forward to working with this innovative company to help futureproof the UK festival scene. Cashless technology is emerging as a feature of everyday life, from paying for tube journeys to buying a sandwich, and its importance will only grow.
“I am looking forward to working with a wide variety of festivals in the UK to help them benefit from Weezevent’s system”
“With high turnovers amassed in relatively short periods of time, festivals can benefit greatly from a switch to cashless, and indeed a number of events have already done so. Our technology can improve the customer experience, save festivals time and money, and give organisers access to data-driven event management tools.
“Starting immediately, I am looking forward to working with a wide variety of festivals in the UK to help them benefit from Weezevent’s system to operate leaner, more dynamic events, replicating the success that we have already seen in France.”
Speaking to IQ last year for issue 80’s cashless payments feature, Weezevent CEO Pierre-Henri Deballon explained the company has provides cashless solutions to the vast majority of France’s largest music festivals, and is hoping to lead a similar cashless revolution in the UK.
Commenting on Goddard’s appointment, Weezevent’s EVP, Europe, Isabelle Chevallier, who joined from Intellitix last year, says: “I am very pleased to welcome a new talent to the Weezevent family. It is a key hire for the further growth of the company in the UK, and I’m convinced that Olly will manage to restore confidence in cashless among British festival organisers.”
Isabelle Chevallier named Weezevent EVP Europe
Weezevent has appointed Isabelle Chevallier as executive vice-president, Europe, working across its offices in France, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
Chavellier comes to the Dijon-based software company – which offers solutions for ticket sales, access control and cashless payments – from RFID company Intellitix, which she joined as European head of business development in January 2016. She previously spent 16 years at Sony Music Entertrainment.
Weezevent, founded in 2008, launched in the UK and Ireland last March, following the opening in 2016 of an office in Switzerland.
“Weezevent has all the ingredients to succeed internationally”
Commenting on the strength of Weezevent’s SaaS (software as a service) ticketing solution, Chevallier says: “This is a high-performing and robust solution that has already proven itself across major events in France. With a complete range of services from ticketing to access control and cashless payment, and a very competitive offering, Weezevent has all the ingredients to succeed internationally.”
“We are convinced that we provide the best answer to the challenges of live events,” adds Pierre-Henri Deballon, CEO and co-founder of Weezevent. “Our challenge now is to increase awareness around our product before we can prove ourselves on the field – this is where Isabelle comes into play, and her expertise of working in Europe will be key.”
Weezevent launches in British Isles
Weezevent, a French developer of self-service ticketing and cashless payment solutions, is to open its first office in the UK ahead of a launch in Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
The Paris-based company, founded in 2008 by Pierre-Henri Deballon and Sebastien Tonglet, has since sold more than 35 million tickets for 90,000 promoters, including Live Nation France (Download Paris, Lollapalooza Paris, Main Square), Pitchfork Festival and Uefa’s Euro 2016 football tournament.
Weezevent chief technology officer Arthur Puyou says 90% of French festivals are now cashless, “and 80% are using Weezevent technology. We’ve just seen record ticket sales in France in 2016, and our clients’ market research shows 85% of customers prefer this solution to the old conventional cash method.
“The UK is an incredible market, and we’ve decided to invest in an outstanding team to offer our great services to events here”
“Practically 100% of clients made greater profits using cashless. It’s great to see that the cashless solution is evolving the festival experience for everyone in an extremely positive way.”
“The UK is an incredible market, and we’ve decided to invest in an outstanding team to offer our great services to events here,” adds Deballon. “We believe that our world-class technology, combined with local experts, will help us offer the best technologies to our UK clients.”
The new British office will be located in Manchester. Weezevent will also open a Madrid branch this year.