Chicago's Lollapalooza Music Festival is launching a new cashless system, allowing attendees to buy food and drink with a personal RFID bracelet distributed on entrance. To pay a vendor, concertgoers will simply tap their bracelet against a vendor's point-of-sale system, wirelessly transmitting their credit card information. The system requires users to opt-in in advance, so no one will be forced to load their credit cards onto the bracelet, but organizers estimate even partial adoption could speed up often chaotic food and drink lines.
Bonnaroo and Coachella both use RFID bracelets as ticket substitutes, but neither has taken the leap to a full RFID-enabled payment system. For large festivals, the bracelets can also be used to create a record of which acts a given concertgoer has seen, potentially creating a valuable source of data for bands and organizers who want to send follow-up emails, distribute live sets, or gauge attendance. In May, the Mysteryland EDM festival became the first multi-day music festival in America to go fully cashless.