Why Cashless Festivals Are Still The Worst
By / August 29, 2022


When the festival industry took a forced pause for two years, I was hoping that they would take the downtime to work out in the kinks in the cashless experience. I was wrong. This terrible technology is back and somehow even worse than ever for 2022.

Cashless Doesn’t Cut Down On Lines
We were promised that there would be no lines with cashless. And they aren’t – except for the massive one where you need to add money to your card.

Not Enough Reup Locations
I don’t know about you, but I get distracted at festivals, especially when I’m waiting for the next act to come on. Before you know it, the show is about to start and you turn to the bar at the front of the stage only to realize that your wristband is empty and there is a sea of people in between you. I also don’t know about you, but this is why I typically smuggle my own booze into a festival.

They Won’t Give Your Money Back, At Least Not Easily
Like any shitty scam, money is super easy and instantaneous to add to your wristband, but a pain in the ass to get off. The festival should automatically refund funds you don’t use, but instead they force you to go online, fill out forms, wait weeks (or even months) to get your money back. And oh yeah, they might charge you you a fee to get back your own money.

It’s a Festival Tax
Odds are you didn’t bother with the refund, especially if it was only a couple dollars which means the festival rakes in thousands of dollars in bonus cash.

Malfunction Junction
It’s an already outdated technology that gets trotted out once a year so it’s no surprise that there are glitches, power supply problems, and issues with connectivity.

We Already Have a Better Cashless System
While festivals were busy figuring out how to make the festival experience more annoying, credit card companies have made cashless payments seamless. At smaller festivals, I just use my phone or credit card at the point of sale. And if there’s a malfunction? Or the system goes down? They still accept cash.

Born during a backstage Bonnaroo downpour, Vito's mission in life is to dance, write, and travel to all the great festivals that this wide world has to offer.