The organiser of Eastern Electronics (EE) has stressed that vendors' taking at the 15.000-capacity festival will be protected when it uses a cashless system provided by RFID specialist PlayPass.
This follows fears expressed by mobile caterers and other traders following the unconnected failure of the Galtres Festival (cap. 10.000) in 2014, which saw concessionaires losing over £ 250.000, when the festival organiser used their revenue, collected via a cashless system, to pay other festival bills begore going into liquiditation.
"The payments to the vendors are ring-fenced" says the EE organiser Rob Hives, who prefers to use the name Rob Star. "Although we're collecting the money on their behalf, that money is theirs, not ours, and it doesn't hit our account."
This is the second year EE has used a cashless system, but Hives says he switched to PlayPass because customers could add funds to their wristbands before the show, possibly via a festival app, and unused money would be returned to customers after the event more rapidly.
Steve Jenner, who runs the UK office of PlayPass, which has its headquarters in Belgium, says, "The evidence suggests that people spend 15 per cent to 30 per cent more money at festivals because of the system. We've all been at a festival where you want that extra drink but you don't have the money on you."
Star confirms that is what happened. "We had an increase in spend per head at last year's festival using cashless, but it comes with increased setting-up costs, so it balances out overall," he says. "But it's a better system for the customer and the organiser."
EE headliners includes Groove Armada and Skream, while Phase 1 tickets for the one-day event cost £34.95.