CTV Toronto recently did a feature on the new cashless system planned for Digital Dreams Music Festival in Toronto, but if you want to get the full scoop then read on.
Last month EDM Canada had the chance to talk to Ryan Kruger, the head of Electronic Nation Canada and the main organizer behind the Digital Dreams Music Festival. We discussed the cashless system plans at length, check it out:
EDM Canada: What differences can fans expect between the 2013 and 2014 editions of
Ryan Kruger: I think the biggest thing that people are going to notice is the way that we have layed out the site. The event itself is increasing in size from 50,000 to 80,000 people over the course of the weekend. To accommodate this increase in capacity we actually moved the main stage into the front parking lot along Lakeshore which increases the footprint of the entire festival. In addition, we are also adding an area on the south side that's closer to the lake. Overall, the layout will flow better and the stages will be further apart which will eliminate issues of sound bleed that sometimes cropped up in the past. Digital Dreams will also utilize the entire eastern part of Ontario Place that so will now connect everything from the Lakeshore to the lake itself. The next big thing people will notice is the fact we're going completely cashless. We are reincorporating the RFID technology that we tried out in the first year and we're taking it to the next level that will essentially allow people to somewhat leave their wallets at home. People will have an online account that can be access through their wristband RFID chip. With this account they can upload money, both in advance and at on-site at kiosks as well as through their phones. You'll be able to do pretty much anything on-site that requires a cash transaction via a flip of the wrist over a scanner. That includes all food and beverage, merchandise, vendors, and pretty much everything except for stuff outside of the venue like parking and transportation.
Will vendors still be accepting cash or will they go completely cashless this year?
Ryan Kruger: It will depend. Everything that we do including all of our own propriety food and beverage, ticket purchases, merchandise, etc, all of that will be cashless. There will be no option to pay cash. By doing this it will make the whole process much more efficient and and faster for the customer. We've seen this system being used in major festivals in both North America and around the world over the last 6-12 months and it really speeds up the interaction between the patron and whatever they want to do on site. You'll get faster service buying a beer, bottle of water, t-shirt, or whatever that it might be. We're just working on the final details with the independent vendors like a food trucks to see if they can go completely cashless, or a mix of both. But our goal is to go completely cashless site-wide.
How would people load up their RFID wristband with money?
Ryan Kruger: The wristband itself is simply a key to a lock. It has a unique pin code built within the RFID chip, and if you lose your RFID band, you're not losing your wallet per se. Your wallet is an online holding spot, almost like a bank account. And the key to access that is your wristband RFID chip. If you were to lose it or damage it, you'll simply go to a help desk and have the old one deactivated and get a new one. The way you'll load it is by going to a specific website that is built for the process of transferring funds and you can do that in advance directly from your bank account, interac, credit card, or you could go right to a kiosk set up at the site and put cash on it. So you don't actually need a bank account or credit card to actually use it.
Will this new system be safe?
Ryan Kruger: Absolutely. It's actually safer than having a wallet in your pocket because if you lose your wallet, it's gone and everything in it is gone. If for whatever reason you lose your wristband, and the actual amount of people that lose their wristband at an event is next to zero, you can immediately shut it off and get a new one. It's almost like cancelling the service from your phone, getting a new phone, and uploading your backed up information onto it. You haven't lost any information and there is actually no cost to having your wristband replaced if its lost or damaged. In addition, there is another big positive to the system in that it's not your typical old school system of buying some tokens for beer or food and you'll have 3-4 tokens left in your pocket when you leave and feel slightly ripped off. Our system goes both ways. When the festival is done and you haven't used up all of your funds on the wristband, we'll refund 100% of that money to you.
Tickets are still available for the Digital Dreams Music Festival, set to take place in Toronto from June 28th to 29th. Click below for more ticket information: