Bunbury Music Festival scrapping cashless, ticketless system this year

Posted at 6:00 AM, Jan 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-02 06:34:16-04

CINCINNATI — Plan to have tickets, cash and credit cards on hand for this year’s Bunbury Music Festival.

Festival organizer PromoWest Productions announced it will not bring back the cashless payment system using radio frequency identification device (RFID) wristbands that it introduced last year. The RFID wristbands also served as tickets for entry.

Bunbury will return for its seventh year June 2-4 at Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove.

“The interactive wristbands were a success in many ways for us, but the feedback from our fans was that [the] prior year’s system was the better experience,” said Megan Doster, marketing director for Columbus-based PromoWest.

Under last year’s RFID system, festival attendees registered individual wristbands online and then loaded money to an account linked to them. Vendors then scanned the bands, which were embedded with a radio frequency transmitter, to withdraw money for purchases. No cash or credit cards were accepted on site.


This year PromoWest will send out paper tickets and simple admission wristbands for Bunbury. Festivalgoers also will be able to make direct cash purchases from vendors on-site, Doster said.

PromoWest bought Bunbury from founder Bill Donabedian in 2014. When the company produced the festival in 2015, people complained about long entry lines and trouble withdrawing cash from cellphone-signal-powered ATMs on-site.

In 2016, the company responded to those complaints by introducing the RFID system, which was designed to speed up entrance and purchase times. The RFID system, though, received its own complaints from festivalgoers, some of whom were confused by the technology or had trouble making purchases with their wristbands.

Doster said PromoWest is currently working to address the ATM and cellphone signal issues the festival experienced in 2015.

“That’s one of our main focal points going into this year -- have that up and running for everyone’s liking,” she said.

PromoWest will announce the 2017 Bunbury Music Festival lineup on Jan. 24 at the Woodward Theater in Over-the-Rhine. Doster said hints for that lineup will start appearing soon at and on the festival’s Twitter feed.

Three-day passes for Bunbury are currently on sale at Organizers will announce when single-day tickets will go on sale in the coming weeks, Doster said.