Hellfest, Vieilles Charrues… At the end of the festivals, what happens to the money left on the “cashless”? – Ouest-France local editions

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 leaves it,” explains Jérôme Tréhorel, director of Vieilles Charrues, 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 “credit is permanently lost”. Between 50 and 100,000 euros unclaimed each year at the Vieilles Charrues Each year, it is nevertheless “between 50,000 and 100,000€” that are not claimed by festival-goers, estimates 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”, explains Jérôme Tréhorel. “Between 5 and 10% of festival-goers do not claim their credit at Hellfest” The other major western festival, 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, ”explains 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,” estimates 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 the past 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, this summer alone “200 million euros” passed through these electronic chips, confides Pierre-Henri Deballon, co-founder and manager 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 generated by the event 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”. Also read: Map. Discover the attendance records at Western festivals 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 at the disposal of the 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 the participants”. Knowing that for certain events, “these are more than 10 million euros in revenue only in drinks and food”. According to the leader, “99% of events reimburse people within a fixed period of between two weeks and two months”. For example, 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 top up small amounts and consume less to adjust their spending,” says Pierre-Henri Deballon. Avoid cash at the festival Others, such as the Bout du Monde festival, are still among the few to use “tickets” to be exchanged at refreshment bars. 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,” says 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 increase 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 to transport the money that was sleeping 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. chevron_leftchevron_right