Mysteryland USA, a new festival to be held at the hallowed grounds of the 1969 Woodstock, is adding a twist to the 2014 festival season — no cash. SFX Entertainment, the company behind a bunch of the EDM mega-festivals in the United States will introduce a cashless system. A chip in the wristband can link to your credit or debit card allowing for vendor purchases. As with all things festival, the Europeans have been using this for years.
For the record, the MFW team is fully down for technology advancements, especially anything that cuts down on waiting in lines, but this article in Billboard gave us the chills. Who knew that having massive conglomerates produce our largest festivals would lead to a vaguely creepy Orwellian future where there’s something called “The Experience Stream” run by a company called Intellitix. Below is a quote from SFX how they hope to drain your wallet from your first purchase to after the event. The only thing missing is a suspicious businessman in a suit gleefully rubbing his hands together.
The development at Mysteryland relates to a bigger strategic vision for SFX, the Experience Stream, which takes the interaction from the initial ticket purchase, to in-app media, to pass-the line privileges, cashless payments, the mobile wallet, wi-fi connected beacons and all the way through to after-festival content and consumption experiences. The Experience Stream is a singular idea. Where transactions are just an element in a fully interactive environment designed to wow fans and simplify their world.
Wacky corporate quotes aside, we’re thrilled whenever technology and festivals collide. There will be some wild applications of having an RFID wristband that won’t have anything to do with generating revenue. Imagine hooking it up to your phone to locate friends, see if a particular venue is too crowded, or if there is a long line for the bathroom. Speaking of which, if someone could please just figure out how to get this into a festival, we would really be moving into the future.