In a stark reminder of the perils of going digital-only, a UK music festival plunged into chaos over the weekend as its cashless payment system failed- leaving music fans unable to buy food or drink and being forced to queue for hours.
Popular metal festival Download introduced the new payment-enabled ‘Dog Tags’ this year in a bid to speed up queuing and reduce crime.
However, the devices have proved unpopular with many taking to social media to express their frustration, with users branding it ‘useless’ and a ‘complete joke.’
Others told how they were left hungry and thirsty and bombarded organisers with angry messages on both Twitter and Facebook.
Many said their wristbands do not contain the money they loaded on.
Other festivals have gone cashless before. Wireless has been equipped for the service as an option since 2012, but this is the first time that there has been no safety net.
With no failsafe, back-up or cash alternative, hundreds have been left frustrated.
The official website explained that users would need to register their ticket online beforehand and then exchange the physical ticket for a Dog Tag wristband when entering the festival site.
A statement read: ‘We can’t trust Download Dog anymore so the festival is going absolutely cashless this year – the first major UK festival to do so. Which is pretty epic.
‘Not only will it reduce queues for the bar and food stalls, it removes the faff of cash and makes security on site even tighter.’
Stupid cashless system, Download we need to eat! 😭 #DL2015
— Nessa (@fruitbatnessa) June 10, 2015
— Andrew Dowdall (@Fowdall) June 11, 2015
The Festival was also used by Police to test facial regonition systems. Around 90,000 people attending the five-day rock event in Derby had their faces scanned by “strategically placed” cameras, which are compared with a database of custody images across Europe.
Police have trialled the system since April 2014 in “controlled environments”, but this is the first time the portable NeoFace surveillance technology, made by NEC Corporation, is being used outdoors in the UK on this scale.
Leicestershire police said it hoped the system would enable them to find organised criminals who prey on festivalgoers who are often victims of theft.
DC Kevin Walker told the Police Oracle website: “Strategically placed cameras will scan faces at the Download Festival site in Donnington before comparing [them] with a database of custody images from across Europe.
“It is one of the first times it has been trialled outside, normally it is done in a controlled environment. There has been a lot of interest from other festivals and they are saying: ‘If it works, can we borrow it?’”