Set In the tranquil setting of New Forest National Park, Access visited Lime Wood hotel for the third in a series of three Smoked & Uncut events, to see how the family festival has swelled to 13,000 visitors

Smoked & Uncut has enjoyed a notable rise in recent years with the event now set over three days across June and July at three of their different hotels, The PIG-near Bath, The PIG and Lime Wood. 

Its relaxed atmosphere, passion for good honest festival food and carefully curated line-up has attracted acts such as the Vaccines, Kaiser Chiefs and the Sister Sledge.

Lotti Eagles, head of marketing for the PIG and Limewood hotels, told Access:

“The crowd has become more eclectic each year as the festivals have grown and developed with new food offerings, new bars, better bands, entertainment and even the introduction of a Glamping village. 

There is still a core group which is made up of hotel and restaurant friends but we are now reaching music fans, food fans and certainly making a name for ourselves as a family friendly festival.”

This year the PIG hotel chain chose to develop its cashless system from a token system that they had been using as a form of payment for the past four years to PlayPass’s NFC technology. 

The token system allowed guests to exchange their cash for tokens, however, last year the festivals experienced a shortage of tokens, long queues and with the expectation of increased numbers for 2019, the chain engaged PlayPass to alleviate these issues.

Eagles continued: “PlayPass just got us! They were very used to events of our size and really reassured us that this was a great step to take in allowing us to offer our guests the simplest and slickest form of payment on site. The PlayPass system benefited both the customer experience and our experience as organisers.

“Introducing the RFID wristbands and personal portals also went down very well with our festival guests. We were able to work with our brand partners and sponsors to ensure we were charging fairly for every item that we were selling, rather than selling at the blanket prices we charged in the past.”

Guests were prepped in advance of their arrival about topping up their wristbands, this meant queues at top up stations were minimal along with the queues at the bars and food stalls as well. 

The system will be used to help guide their plans for 2020 as organisers could now accurately track spends and gain a better understanding of what the visitors enjoyed and what they didn’t.

Steve Jenner, PlayPass managing director in the UK, commented: “It was a pleasure working with Smoked & Uncut for the first time, the festival really is something special and we are delighted to be a part of it. 

“We are excited about the future and working with the festivals to build on this data that the NFC technology provides.”