Hellfest, Vieilles Charrues… At the end of the festivals, what happens to the money left on the “cashless”?

Hellfest, Vieilles Charrues… At the end of the festivals, what happens to the money left on the “cashless”?

From a few cents to several tens of euros, multiplied by the number of festival-goers… No need to take out the calculator to understand that the thousands of euros of cashless, this device which allows you to credit a bracelet with your bank card, are not always claimed at the end of the festivals.

70% of our festival-goers create an account before the event. That is to say, they will be automatically refunded without having to do anything. Among the remaining 30%, some will create their account after the festival to recover their money. But a minority let him, explains Jérôme Tréhorel, Director of Old plows which brought together 224,000 people in mid-July. Participants of the 2022 edition had until August 9 to claim their remainder. Otherwise, the site indicates that “the credit is definitely lost”.

Between 50 and 100,000 euros unclaimed each year at Les Vieilles Charrues

Each year, however, these are “between €50,000 and €100,000 » which are not claimed by festival-goers, believes the director. “This sum is transformed into donations for our investments, our projects for the following year”.

According to the organizer, fewer and fewer festival-goers do not recover their credited euros. “The goal is not for the money to stay in the accounts but for festival-goers to have confidence in this payment solution. We are not here to make money on their backs. We do not charge account administration or management fees. This solution costs money to the Vieilles Charrues »nuance Jérôme Tréhorel.

“Between 5 and 10% of festival-goers do not claim their Hellfest credit”

The other big western festival, the Hellfest, also a cashless fan since 2015, decided for the first time this year to donate the remaining money to associations.. “We offered festival-goers to pay their credit to four associations: WWF, Action Against Hunger, Solidarity Women and the Pasteur Institute. Usually the sums paid went to Hellfest production. It was part of our recipes,” enlightens Eric Perrin, spokesperson for the great metal festival. This year the event scheduled over two weekends brought together 420,000 people. “Between 5 and 10% of festival-goers do not claim their credit “says Eric Perrin.

In 2019, out of 180,000 festival-goers attending the 4-day format, 11.5 million euros had been spent on drinks and food via cashless.

A device adopted by festival-goers

For seven years, this means of payment has been spreading to festivals. The Vieilles Charrues were the first to experiment with it, according to its director. According to Weezevent, a leading company in Europe, just this summer “200 million euros have passed through these electronic chips, confides Pierre-Henri Deballon, co-founder and director of Weezevent.

It’s not just festivals that use this solution, but also sporting events or trade fairs… The manager assures us that Weezevent’s economic model is not based “on the turnover achieved by the event, nor on the money deposited”. An operation shared by Antoine Pecquet, co-founder of Weecop which also offers cashless solutions. “We do not receive any money or commission”.

Read also: Map. Discover the attendance records at festivals in the West this summer

Rare events do not reimburse at all, and it cringes

On the other hand, these companies sell their technology to the organizers: “about €1 per chip used and we provide teams to ensure the implementation on site”, explains the director of Weezevent, also a major player in dematerialized ticketing in France.

According to the professional “between 4 and 5% of food and drink receipts are not claimed or recovered by participants “. Knowing that for certain events, “these are more than 10 million euros in revenue from drinks and food alone”.

According to the leader, “99% of events reimburse people within a fixed period of between two weeks and two months”.

For example, the Beauregard festival-goers in Normandy, still have until September 15 to recover their euros deposited in their account at the beginning of July.

And for the rare events not to be reimbursed at all? “We observe a negative feeling among customers. This creates the opposite effect to what is intended. People don’t want to lose money so they recharge small amounts and consume less to adjust their spending “says Pierre-Henri Deballon.

Avoid cash at the festival

Others, like the End of the World Festival are still among the few to use “tickets” to be exchanged at the refreshments. But Jacques Guérin, director of the Finistère festival, recognizes that “This year, there was a long queue to buy tickets. We may opt for this payment system in 2023 or 2024. We are not stopping anything. But we don’t want to look like everyone else “.

However, those who opted for cashless would not go back. “Before, we operated with tokens. When they were lost, no refund was possible. We also prevent cash from circulating on the site. We also see that more people are going to the bar because the transactions are faster. The average basket has increased » indicates the Hellfest representative.

Adjust consumption

An opinion not necessarily shared by Jérôme Tréhorel of Vieilles Charrues where the average basket is between 11 and 20 € per day, per person.

On the organiser’s side, cashless and its numerous recorded data also make it possible to adjust the beer barrels or restock the stand with fries, depending on the consumption observed. “It also allows us to see the stands that are working more or less well. From one year to the next, we raise around 10% of our catering offer”adds the manager of Vieilles Charrues.

This system also saves organizers from stressing the whole weekend while waiting to put it in the bank. “We all had our little tricks for transporting the money that lay dormant in one place all weekend”, says Jérôme Tréhorel. But that time is over. From now on, money is no longer ringing and stumbling. He just happens to sleep on the electronic purse of the festival-goers.

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