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Getting Started with Scanners for Festival Sites.

Andy Robertson

Most music festivals have become ticketless in recent years requiring robust technology solutions to control event entrance. There are a wide variety of suppliers and options available for festival organisers, what are the key basics anyone new to managing this technology needs to know.


Electronic scanners and use of QR codes has been a great way of preventing ticketing fraud in recent years with the additional benefit of convenience for organisers and festival-goers. The requirement to issue physical tickets and the ability to scan codes from mobile devices has also reduced paper consumption, a small but significant contribution to a festival's sustainability targets.

How Scanning Works. 
The scanning technology requires the use of QR codes which contain unique information than can be matched back to the issuing system. The scanner is used to cross reference these codes to check validity and then record it as being used. In summery a festival site will use scanners like this: 

  • The ticket is presented for admittance to the festival (a paper printout or mobile screen) the QR code is scanned to check the validity of the event name, date and time.
  • If the ticket is valid the scanner will return a valid response and display the buyer’s name and unique ID. If the ticket is not valid the scanner will return an Invalid response.
  • If an electronic ticket has been duplicated fraudulently, the second attempt to enter the festival with the same code will return an invalid response  

The key requirements to enable on-site wireless scanning of tickets is the software to issue QR codes and link this ticketing data with real time on-site scanning and the physical scanners.

Typical Solutions for Festivals. 
There are a large range of ticketing and scanning software solutions available to choose from and festival organisers can select the one that fulfils all their needs. The physical handheld wireless scanning devices can be quite expensive and many organisers opt to hire their scanners. Depending on the size of an event they may need several hundred to cover all entrances. The scanner batteries typically last for 8 hours so for a multi-day event the scanners need to be recharged increasing the number of scanners required. When assessing the scanners, it is essential that they work with a connected database and have the ability to continue to process in an offline mode too. The scanners need to be compatible with the ticketing software and thoroughly tested prior to the event dates. As a very rough guide expect to pay about £250 to buy a scanner or £20 per scanner per day to hire. 

Benefits and Additional Usage.
The key benefits are the ability to process festival-goers quickly on remote sites reducing queuing times and the overall reduction in ticket fraud. The uses of QR codes and scanning can also be utilised for restricted access areas and even the redemption of crew meal tickets. For the festival organisers they have the ability monitor gate traffic in real time and post event analyse festival-goer behaviour for dates and times of scanning and no shows.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics including a full ticketing solution for QR codes and on-site scanning. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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