Cutting Edge


They do it at Disneyworld. They do it in Colorado. And now you can do it in Columbia. While world-class talent entertains you from two stages at this year’s Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival, you’ll be wearing the latest digital fashion.

Roots N Blues N BBQ is going cashless. Put away your wallet and your debit card, and let your wristband do the work. When you purchase your ticket, Roots N Blues N BBQ will mail you a smart wristband that takes the place of cash and credit cards.

Thanks to RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) your wristband becomes your smart money. To pay using your RFID wristband, start by “topping-up” and loading money to your cashless account — like a pre-paid account. Then use your smart wristband to purchase food, drinks and souvenirs.

To make purchases:
1. Tap your wristband on the RFID reader.
2. Place your order with the vendor.
3. Tap your wristband a second time to confirm your transaction.

The amount spent will automatically be deducted from your account balance. If you run out of credit, you can recharge and top up again.

Load your wristband with money several ways: From your smart phone use the Roots N Blues N BBQ mobile app. Make sure to download the app before arriving at the festival. You can also load from a home computer. Once at the festival, everybody can access several top-up stations conveniently located throughout the festival grounds. Trained staff will be on-hand to help you through the process. Top up can be as little as one dollar. You can enable an Auto Top-Up feature when your balance falls below $20. There are no transaction fees.

If you purchase more than one wristband you have the option of creating separate accounts for each wristband, or lumping multiple wristband numbers into a “Shared Family Account,” and all linked wristbands can make purchases using the same pool of funds. If you have money left on your wristband at the end of the festival, you’ll receive an automatic refund of your money.

Vendors will be ready. But vendor stands will not be able to top up for you, so top up before making purchases. And cashless means cashless. The only form of payment accepted at all vendor locations is your RFID wristband. Even when you tip a vendor, the tip comes from your wristband. Don’t worry if you’re a dinosaur like me — I have an old flip phone — you still can top up your wristband at the festival top up stations.

How cool is that?

RFID will revolutionize point of sale purchases. Imagine loading your shopping cart at the grocery store, and walking straight to your car without going through the checkout line. That scene is a few years off. But Roots N Blues N BBQ will give you a taste of the future. Faster transaction times should mean shorter lines. No need to fumble in your pockets for change, and no need to hit the ATM machine.

Receiving/Registering Wristbands

When you receive your wristband, register it online at the Roots N Blues N BBQ website: The website will give you more details and instructions, and answer FAQs.

If you bought pre-sale or early bird tickets online or bought tickets in the Vinyl Renaissance or MSA/GPC box office, you will exchange the ticket for the wristband at the gate. Check the website for a special pre-festival event to help you learn about your smart wristband. If you did not use Facebook to sign up, look for an email from Roots N Blues N BBQ asking you to confirm your registration.

Bottom line

This festival is world class. The artists love playing here and the fun is infectious. The crowds and the musicians feed off each other. Cashless, of course.

You’ll be spending more time in your lawn chair and less time fumbling for change, looking for your wallet or waiting in line. Nice payoff.

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