Bonnaroo, one of the music festivals that have helped to move rock music from the club to the Garden of Earthly Delights, has announced it will be using RFID chips in the entrance wristbands to prevent counterfeiting.

Like all RFID tech, it requires readers to scan. Those readers will be at all entrance points to the festival. If a band lacks a working RFID chip, the wearer will not be allowed in. The festival is also allowing festival-goers to use the bracelet for a lot more, however.

Updated after the jump.

The sold-out, Tennessee-based festival is putting on its 10th hoedown since it began in 2002. This year, it will have in excess of a hundred acts and see attendance, if last year is any indication, of 90,000 or more.

Given that the festival drones on for four days and people camp out and bring their gear and given that out of almost 100,000 people there are going to be some baddies, Bonnaroo has made it possible for patrons to load their wristband with information, including their credit card number, through the website. The latter element should make it a great deal easier to make purchases at the festival.

So, what’s the problem? Adam Gold, writing for the Nashville Scene, puts it best.

“It’s inevitable that many a block-headed hippie among the Bonnaroo faithful are likely to cry foul and loose a collective shit fit of conspiratorial, theoretic poppycock bemoaning the addition of Big Brother (sans Holding Company) to this year’s lineup…I can imagine that, in the midst of the wrong mid-trip moment, a festival-goer or two is likely going to gaze upon the wristband with his or her third eye and subsequently freak out…(I)f this happens to one of your friends, just remind them that they’re probably on Facebook, and the marketing man already knows their lifestyle habits; they have a cellphone that pings their location off their brains at all times anyway; and that their family will find some closure when the puddle their body melted into is found, wristband intact.”

You kids have fun.


Ken Weinstein of Big Hassle Media, contacted me on behalf of Bonnaroo. He told me that my central assertion, which I read in Nashville Scene, was incorrect.

“Credit card info is not stored, and nothing can be purchased through the information given by the attendee. Voluntary registration of wristband for security measures. If the fan registers it, they know its valid. And if they lost it we can get them another.”

I regret not having contacted Bonnaroo, something I usually do.

Feet photo by Jason Anfinsen

curt hopkins