Electronic Wristbands: Privacy Nightmare or Technology Miracle?

A festival attendee tries out the new digital wristband.

With over 200 acts, the big star of The Netherland’s Eurosonic Noorderslag Festival may have been the high tech digital wristband used for admission. Debuting for the first time at the Dutch pop music fest, fans were able to breeze through lines with the RFID enabled bracelet. Last summer, electronic wristbands were rolled out at North American music festivals including Coachella and Electric Zoo.

Welcome to the future of music festivals…and are you ready for it?

The most obvious immediate benefits to promoters is to cut down on counterfeits and speed up lines, but this is just the beginning. Organizers are salaviating over cashless money — load a wristband up with cash so that you can saunter to the front of the beer line and wave your arm for payment. Intellitix, the mastermind behind the scenes, also touts social media integration (who isn’t). For instance, dashing through the gates of Bonnaroo may trigger an automatic Facebook update.

Not everyone is fully stoked on the technology. For the convience of leaving your wallet at home, you’re essentially delivering gobs of personal information to corporations who, let’s face it, rarely have your personal interests at heart. Michael Eavis, the founder of Glastonbury, is considering the new wristbands for 2013, although he has some reservations. According to BBC 1:

“All the commercial implications of the chip are slightly worrying aren’t they?” he said. “I don’t want to take people into a land they don’t want to go into. And using information about people, I wouldn’t be happy about that.”

Whatever the case, we the fans, will most likely have little voice in the upcoming overhaul. But we want to hear your thoughts anyway down below. Convenience or privacy? What say you?

Born during a sweaty, backstage, Bonnaroo downpour, the editor-in-chief's mission in life is to dance, write, and travel to every great festival that this wide world has to offer. While his identity remains a mystery, you may have already met him, probably when he helped himself to your party favors.

1 Comment

  • February 2, 2012


    Interesting.. If it speeds up lines and makes things smoother i’d say go for it.

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