TicketCo UK Country Manager David Kenny says cash has no place at a modern festival, and suggests an alternative.


The modern event organiser has a lot on their plate.

Queues, safety, ticketing, vendors, artists, security and many other factors must be considered before you can even contemplate enjoying what you’ve created.

Having co-founded Gorilla Events, worked at Peppermint Events and become event director at Freemans Event Partners before joining TicketCo, I’ve helped nurture and develop a wide range of festival and events.

One of the key things I’ve learned is that any form of delay, queue or bottleneck seriously affects a customer’s enjoyment.

Many festival-goers have been put off returning to events due to queues at the bar and delays in getting in. Doing away with physical tickets and cash can, at a single stroke, massively reduce queueing times.

At TicketCo our first event partner in the UK was the Banchory Beer Festival, where founders Mungo and Guy Finlayson ran a complete cashless festival in rural Scotland using 4G mobile-phone signal and our digital wallet app.

Even in this traditional market in a rural setting, festival goers quickly saw the benefits of topping up their digital wallets at leisure, then simply having their phones scanned at the bars for quick service. They didn’t have to worry about having enough cash before entering the site and the whole system operated flawlessly.

The festival’s previous operation used the familiar token system, but this creates two potential queueing points and involves the exchange of cash.

For me, cash has no place at the modern festival.

The transaction of notes and coins builds in delays which can really add up at a busy event.

Modern audiences are so used to tapping and paying with cards or phones that festivals and events really can’t afford not to operate like other high-street businesses.

The other key benefit, that speaks to both organisers and attendees, is the issue of security.

This year we’ve partnered with the independent Wheels and Fins Festival on the Kent Coast. The organisers of this two-day celebration of surfing, skating and music are focused on delivering a safe, enjoyable event for the 10,000 attendees, and security is obviously paramount.

By using our digital wallet, David Melmoth and his team have banished their token system for food and drinks, which will speed up service times but also crucially remove a large amount of cash from the site.

When you’re operating a busy festival arena, having to worry about the risk of sticky-fingered bar staff or the threat of outside theft is something we as an industry really should have left behind by now.

Thankfully, cashless technology is now making events much smoother for organisers.