RFID Failure At Hurricane

A failure to make the radio frequency identification (RFID) technology work came close to creating havoc at Hurricane Festival and left festival chief Folkert Koopmans with more money than he knew what to do with.

The RFID system, which is designed to ease access through the gate and enable festivalgoers to make cashless payments on site, was soon abandoned as it appeared not to be scanning wristbands correctly.

Koopmans, who trialed the system at Hurricane after seeing it work at Australia’s Future Music Festival, may now face a legal wrangle with EITS Global, the Perth-based firm that supplied the system.

He set aside euro 250,000 ($312,000) to make refunds for the credits that some fans had already stored on their wristbands, only to find he had close to euro 100,000 ($125,000) left after they’d all been repaid.

“We had, for example, set aside euro 300 to compensate some fans who were claiming that they’d put euro 100 on the band,” Koopmans told Pollstar. “It now seems that some of them had problems activating the band on their way into the site and had more than one try to get in.

“We are now investigating the possibility that each time they tried, they activated a further euro 100 on the wristband without being aware of it.”

Having found that the European economy has slowed ticket sales at some of the festivals that his Hamburg-based FKP Scorpio operates outside of Germany – in Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and The Netherlands – Koopmans was pleased that wasn’t the case once he got back on home turf.

His two major German festivals, the twinned Hurricane and Southside June 22-24, sold out their combined 140,000-capacity six weeks in advance.

At the beginning of the month, fellow German promoter Marek Lieberberg reported that his twinned Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park festivals, with a combined capacity of more than 164,000, had also sold out in advance.

The acts playing at Hurricane and Southside festivals included Die Arzte, The Cure, Blink-182, The Stone Roses, Justice, Mumford & Sons, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and Sportfreunde Stiller.