2011: The Summer of £6.90 ?

Visitors to Japan's Naked Man Festival scream in delight at the introduction of contactless wristbands

“Standin’ on that merchandise porch

I realized I wouldn’t have to wait forever

Oh and when I held it in my hand

I knew that it was now or never

These are the best days of my life

Now that I need no cash for £6.90″

Sorry, Brian, I’m sure that’s not what you were referring to, but our team at Contactlesscities.com instantly started breaking into song when we heard the news that one of our favourite European contactless countries is starting to take the cash out of festivals. Personally, I think it makes a lot of sense. Looking for lost coins in a field with thousands of people is tiresome. However, even though Barclaycard are hoping to make the Wireless Festival cashless by next year and many festivals operators have been running successful trials, the reality is, as always, about scale:

David McWilliams of Redtech, one of the companies contended with providing the service said: “A lot of young people do not carry much cash and use their chip and pin cards to pay for everything. But because we’re used to our festival experience with money being very low-tech, it will take some education because the idea of going cashless in a field is totally new.”

He added that although no less than two UK festivals will be using it in 2011 – it would take at least five years before it was at every festival.

“For it to work, the event has to be entirely cashless and it needs to be large so that you get the scale to make it cost-effective,” Mr McWilliams said. “It’s definitely doable, so long as enough information is given to people well in advance.

Read more about UK festivals turning contactless here.

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