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21st June 2012

Wakestock is watching you, monitoring your every move and storing your data

The beginning of the end of our freedoms at UK festivals? Is this really the future?

Safeconcerts were horrified to receive the following press release:

Wakestock 2012 will become the most technologically advanced festival in the UK with the addition of new ticketless technology in association with Samsung.

Wakestock 2012, in association with Samsung, is stoked to announce that this year’s event will be the first in the UK to use the wristbands known as RFID technology. It will be a revolution for music fans who will benefit from secure access and virtually no queues.

The ticketless system will see music and wakeboarding fans issued with special RFID wristbands that are read on arrival to validate entry. At the wearer’s discretion, the bands can be linked to their social media profiles, or used to enter instant win competitions. Festival goers will be able to sample the new Samsung Note and personalise their wristband to ‘check in’ on Facebook and share their experience with friends online. Only two events in the country have had this technology approved, the other is the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at Knebworth at the event of this month, so Wakestock are in pretty good company!

Samsung is also inviting festival goers to head to the Galaxy Note experiential stand, where they will be able to personalise their wristband to check in on Facebook and share their experience with their friends online, upgrade to a new device simply by flashing their wristband, and sample both the Galaxy Note and recently released Galaxy S III.

The promoter of both events, Stuart Galbraith from Kilimanjaro Live, commented: "We’ve been waiting for the opportunity to use RFID technology for a while as it’s a great way to enhance and grow the customer experience for concerts and festivals of the future. We are very excited to be working with Samsung and Intellitix in being one of the first UK promoters to embrace this new technology and look forward to developing adaptations across many events."

Simon Stanford, Vice President, Telecommunications & Networks Division, Samsung UK and Ireland said: “We’re delighted to announce our involvement in the first rollout of ticketless technology this country has seen. In future, everyone will be able to use their mobile phone as their ticket, whether they are music fans going to a gig, or a commuters travelling to work. So we’re excited to be aligning ourselves with that technology and to be bringing a new experience to both our customers and to music fans across the country.”

The technology has been developed by Intellitix, the market leader in RFID solutions for live events. Serge Grimaux, CEO at Intellitix, the market leader in RFID solutions for live events, said: “This is the start of a revolution in the live event-going experience in the UK. Samsung recognises how quickly ticketless technology will evolve due to NFC-enabled phones such as the Galaxy S III. The future is now, and Samsung is at the forefront of this.”

Fans who have already purchased Wakestock tickets will be sent the wrist bands in the post in advance of the event. For those who purchase tickets direct from local outlets, their tickets will be exchanged for a wristband on arrival at the event.

Whilst all those involved are busy congratulating themselves we have a word or two of caution.

We don't believe this is intended to make ticket purchase or use safer, easier nor is it designed to combat fraud and ticket touts. It offers nothing to the festival goer but it offers a lot to the festival organiser.

This is a cynical marketing ploy that will allow festival organisers to track your every move and collect personal data which they can then use to specifically target you and get you to spend more money.

Festivals are truly the last bastion of freedom we have in a controlled and and controlling society. Those festival freedoms have been rapidly eroded over the last few years, do we really want promoters and organisers having access to our personal information, our movements, our social networking and our bank accounts?

There is now very little freedom to be found at our festivals and we think that this latest move is a step too far. There will be much more to be said about this latest move but for now it might just be wise to stop and think about just where all this could lead.

Oh yes - this technology offers a great deal to festival organisers...
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