EB Live November issue : cashless payment special


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‘The rise of cashless festivals is inevitable’

Sometimes, the future’s anything but uncertain. For instance, Glownet dares to predict with certainty that cashless payment will be the new standard for festivals. And according to the international market leader for cashless payment solutions, the Netherlands is already ahead in adopting the new standard.

Imagine a city that would construct an ultra-modern metro network, where travelers could only pay with cash or tokens. “People would start questioning in what century they’re living in again”, says Glownet’s CEO Scott Witters.

The comparison clearly illustrates the point that we’re about to reach in the festival industry. Hitting 1 million activations earlier this year, across 166 events, Glownet is seeing an ever-increasing adoption of cashless, year by year. “People are already used to waving their smartphone or wireless bank card when they’re buying a coffee somewhere. And it won’t be long before paying with cash or tokens at a festival will be seen as hopelessly outdated.”
The most important benefit, as Scott points out, is that cashless payment improves the personal experience of festival visitors. Say goodbye to long queues to get a new stash of tokens or cash at the machines, experience quick and easy payments at the bar, never worry again about theft or loss of wallets and get an exact summary of all your payments afterwards. “In the end, people go to festivals to experience freedom. With Glownet, people can enter the terrain with nothing but their wristband; wallets can be left in the tent or locker. In case anyone loses the wristband, any lost credits can be easily refunded. And when guests are used to that experience, they will be very reluctant to go back to the old ways.”
Glownet is a UK based company delivering it´s first event in New-Zealand in 2012 and is now present in 23 countries worldwide, having its main hub in Europe. Global expansion is of course only possible due to some of the great partnerships Glownet has, such as Wirecard. The leading technology group supports companies based on its global payment gateway in accepting electronic payments from all sales channels.
With regard to acquiring via the Wirecard Bank, the group provides end-to-end infrastructure, including the requisite licenses for card and account products to companies worldwide. As an expert for cashless payment, Wirecard issues own payment instruments in the form of cards or mobile payment solutions.
Scott: Earlier this year we collaborated with Wirecard and have successfully delivered our first German event together. It´s great having a partner with such a mobile and global vision combined with innovative payment technology. The partnership was a natural fit to us.

In regards to the Netherlands – one of the leading countries in the movement towards cashless payment. “It’s no coincidence we’ve established our third office in Amsterdam. The Dutch festival industry is known as one of the most professional in the world. We can see a rise in demand for cashless payment everywhere, but again, Dutch festivals are ahead. Luckily, we’re getting more and more healthy competitors to meet this growing demand, but it requires quite some experience to master the art. After all, it’s not so much about the technology itself, but about the right way of applying it. How many top-up stations do you need and how many POS devices at each bar? Which data should you collect and how can you safeguard privacy? And let’s not forget all the different national laws your system must comply to, such as restricting the sales of alcohol for minors. In these matters, we’re still ahead, with more experience than all our competitors combined.”

The main threshold that still keeps festivals from switching to cashless payment, is that it requires complete confidence that the system will always work flawlessly. “Organizers must have enough faith in our system to put the full processing of all their transactions in our hands. So naturally, it must work flawlessly under every imaginable circumstance. Cashless payment can grant them up to 30 percent more turnover, but it could also ruin their business if payments won’t work because of system or network errors. Scott: “Therefore we’ve made the wristbands the most important element in our network, on which the whole system is built upwards. Even during network errors, the devices will always keep on working. And as soon as the network is available again, all credits ,payment and access data will upload to the cloud where we generate reports from. That’s how we live up to our most important philosophy: no matter what happens, technology must never interfere when someone wants to buy a beer.”


Glownet announces Partnership with Sonar


Glownet Cashless Payments Wins with Sónar & Sónar+D 2016

World Renowned Festival and Glownet Announce Four Year Cashless Payments Deal

  • 100% uptime success for second Sónar year running, halving queues and increasing average spend.
  • Over 1M cashless activations by Glownet overall to date – 168 global events in 23 countries with, digitizing on site payments and creating new brand usage and data sets.


Glownet HQ, Madrid, 22 September 2016Sónar, the festival dedicated to music, creativity and technology based in Barcelona and Glownet Cashless Payments systems, the foremost expert on events and RFID technology, today announces a four year agreement to deliver cashless services and offerings to all Sónar Barcelona festival events. These include Sónar by Day, Sónar by Night, as well as Sónar+D, the international congress for creativity, technology and business, running concurrently to Sónar by Day. This year at Sónar Barcelona, total visitors amounted to 115,000 attendees over the three days in two main locations around the city, showing the scale of the event.

The long-term agreement comes after two successful years using Glownet in both 2015 and 2016, with 100% uptime and positive experiences for the tens of thousands of Sónar festival goers.

Sónar is by default committed to celebrating new music, culture and innovation in technology, thus a clear choice to work with Glownet to deliver on our brand promise and enhance the festival experience for our attendees. With today’s news we’re appointing our first official cashless payments partner in Glownet.” said Ventura Barba, Executive Director at Advanced Music, the organizer of Sónar: Music, Creativity & Technology.

“Events used to be about sales, purchases, now it’s all about creating experiences. With Glownet, we’re committing to continually enhancing these meaningful – and increasingly personalized – mass experiences.”              – Ventura Barba, Executive Director, Sónar.


“We’re really honored to be the official cashless payment provider for such an amazing brand as Sónar, adding to the festival experience for over 115,000 at Sónar Barcelona this year, with 100% successful implementation. That’s a lot of happy Sónar customers, all served with our wristbands, right across the city of Barcelona over the full three festival days.” said Scott Witters, Glownet CEO.


“With Sónar’s many varied food and drink providers, we’re happy to deliver the benefits of cashless payments right across the entire festival. This makes it easier all round for guests to enjoy their time and for staff to serve more efficiently. It’s about creating that overall festival freedom without unnecessary or off-putting queues, cash handling, or tokens. Thus cashless is a no brainer for brands seeking to innovative on events and to learn from the data it creates.” added Witters.

With a hospitality team of hundreds, Sónar 2016 in Barcelona deployed 700 Glownet NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled devices at its bars, cafes, food trucks and restaurants. With these devices, normal cash queues are cut by around 40-50%, with no delays from change nor cash being handled. A hassle free experience for staff as much as festival goers.


Cashless – benefits beyond buying – Sónar+D workshop

With cashless technology still very much emerging, Glownet hosted a two-hour interactive panel workshop at the congress Sónar+D. This open workshop shared a deep dive panel and group session with German Coppola and Estanis Martin de Nicolás, the respective CEOs and General Managers of Yumiwi and Stubhub, themselves delivering on NFC and RFID for festival goers benefits as well as for brands building on the data created, from cashless payments to full VIP and even individuals’ health, safety and event licensing itself.

About Sónar


Sónar, the International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art takes place in Barcelona during three days every June. Established in 1994, Sónar is renowned for its unique format and musical program that showcases the latest trends in dance and electronica as well as those sounds pushing the limits of musical and artistic expression. With hundreds of artists, performers and DJ’s divided over two emblematic locations Sónar is a creative playground, fostering and encouraging new interactions between established artists, exciting newcomers and our open minded international audience.