The panel addressed the theme ‘Cashing out – a revolution in payment methods’ in light of the significant increase in cashless payment methods seen at festivals and events this year. Alex Brooke, Steve Daly of wristband specialists ID&C, Alex Trenchard of the UK’s first ‘cashless festival’ Standon Calling and Paul Pike of Intelligent Venue Solutions were chaired by Jeremy Paterson of Vision 9.
Alex Brooke told the conference cashless would work if promoters were presented with clear tech options and clear costings, but that solutions would have to primarily benefit the customer to catch on. Steve Daly said the new technology was a fantastic experience for users, and Alex Trenchard confirmed 80% of the Standon Calling crowd were very positive about the option, doing more spontaneous purchasing as a result. The speakers discussed other inspiring successes and potential problems with cashless payment, how to manage costs without passing them on to the customer and the role of cash in the new model.
During the afternoon other panels considered the impact and influence of overseas festivals on the British scene, spiralling artist fees, the dizzying range of new tech now available to organisers and the challenge of managing relations with local communities, and most highlighted the growing importance of social media.
The afternoon culminated in a keynote interview with Germany’s Rock am Ring festival owner and major gig promoter Marek Lieberberg, who entertained delegates with tales from a career working with everyone from Guns n’ Roses to Britney Spears. Sharing his vision for the future, he told IQ magazine’s Gordon Masson festival-goers should see themselves as masters of an event rather than its puppets, going on to urge organisers to think in terms of content rather than superficialities.
The UK Festival Awards were launched in 2004 to highlight achievements in the festival sector and to give influence to festival-goers, and industry demand led to the addition of a Conference in 2008. This has since established itself as a crucial business information resource, open forum and networking opportunity for promoters, festival directors and service providers.
Peppermint Bars is a regular sponsor of the annual event and this year supported the Promoter of the Year award, which went to Paddy Glasgow of Northern Irish new bands festival Glasgowbury. Glasgowbury presents ‘Small But Massive’ artist-led events throughout the year and was crowned NI’s Best Festival at the first ever Northern Ireland Music Awards (NIMA Awards) in 2011.