Catching a cashless wave

By Guy Martin, Head of European Sponsorships and Events • Visa

May 17, 2017

Catching a cashless wave

Food, drink and sometimes a little extra for a waterproof poncho. The thing about festivals is that you tend to need pocketfuls of cash every time you leave your tent. We’re hoping that this year’s Boardmasters surf, skate and music festival will be very different..

One of the most exciting aspects of our newly announced partnership with Boardmasters is the opportunity to put our Innovation approach into practice and work closely with the festival organisers to see how we can make the experience better; not just for the 150,000 people attending the event, but for the specialist and independent merchants who keep everyone fed, watered and even clean.

For this year, we’ve focused on one design problem; the reliance to date on cash (95% of transactions at Boardmasters were cash-based in 2016). That’s meant big queues at the ATMs the festival organiser have to bring onto site, not to mention security and convenience challenges for visitors and merchants. This year we’re delighted to be working with our global partner Square to enable all onsite merchants to be able to accept card and mobile payments. And we’ll be there at the festival to make sure that the Wi-Fi is working, that everyone has power and to gain some really critical insights into how enabling card payments transforms the festival experience for the 150,000 expected attendees.

2017 is only the beginning of our partnership. Boardmasters joins our European portfolio of sponsorships alongside Formula E and Festival Internacional de Benicàssim in Valencia. We’re already exploring other design and innovation opportunities like ordering ahead, buying tickets in groups and leveraging wearable technology to genuinely transform people’s experience of music and sports events.

The Boardmasters site covers two legendary surfing spots on the Cornish coastline, and hosts a World Tour Surfing event at Fistral Beach as well as headline musical acts on-stage at the stunning Watergate Bay. Naturally, this year the shuttlebuses taking revellers between the two sites will all take contactless payments.

Photograph by Darina Stoda (Boardmasters Festival)

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