Music fans have branded Download Festival‘s new cashless payment system ‘useless’ after it left them unable to buy food or drink, according to dailymail.co.uk.
Organisers of the festival, with headliners Slipknot, Muse and Kiss, introduced the new payment-enabled ‘Dog Tags’ in a bid to speed up queuing and reduce crime.
But the devices have proved unpopular with those attending the event in Donnington Park, Leicestershire, after the system appeared to crash.
Many took 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.
Debbie Chapman wrote on the Download Facebook page: ‘Absolute joke. Cashless? More like clueless. Staff are ill equip to deal with this. Not enough support of the cashless info staff. Spent 2 hours in a que to pretty much be told come back in the morning. No bed. No food. No good download absolute amateurs.’
Sam Wilkinson said: ‘@DownloadFest Cashless at download!? Definitely cashless! System is useless, first time should run smoothly! Or not at all… Frustrating!’
Paul Bodman said: ‘This cashless system at Download is a complete joke. Not working for so many people.’
Amy Powell said: ‘We cant eat or drink because the dog tags aren’t working. Come on download, this is my 9th download, and I’ve never known such a shambles..’
Ahead of the three day event the festival’s Facebook page was flooded with comments by concerned fans, questioning how well the system will work. But festival bosses were quick to try to calm fears.
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.’
Attendees could top up their wristbands online before arriving at the festival using the Download website.
There are balance check points across the site so people can check their funds and top up by card or cash.
They said free Wi-Fi would also allow attendees to go online and use the Download app.
European festivals have been using electronic, contactless wristbands for years with the Eurosonic Noorderslag Festival in the Netherlands introducing them back in 2012.
Glastonbury boss Michael Eavis briefly considered the idea but he feared the technology would attract many external companies making it ‘too commercial‘.
Southampton FC piloted a similar scheme last year powered by Barclaycard’s bPay wristbands, which have been used at several street festivals in London in place of cash payments.
A spokesman for Download Festival said: ‘Download’s new ‘cashless’ RFID system has encountered some minor technical issues, affecting around 1% of attendees, which has resulted in extended queuing times at some information points.
‘Many of those queuing will have seen the way we have responded by opening additional help desks, and the queue has now gone.
‘However, we would like to extend our apologies to any festivalgoers inconvenienced in any way by these issues and assure everyone that they have been and will continue to be dealt with by a brilliant and dedicated team of engineers and festival staff.’