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Many of the Swiss outdoor festivals run away from the money

Many of the Swiss outdoor festivals run away from the money

The Gurten Festival introduced a cashless system ten years ago. Meanwhile, some other open spaces have followed suit.

Gurtenfestival introduced its cashless payment system in 2018. (archive photo) – sda – KEYSTONE / ANTHONY ANEX

The basics in brief

  • Swiss outdoor festivals are increasingly relying on cashless funds.
  • Paléo Festival, Lumnezia and Zurich Openair do not accept criticism.
  • The Gurten Festival introduced a cashless system ten years ago.

Ten years ago, the Gurten Festival, which ends on Sunday, was one of the first open-air Swiss festivals to offer a cashless system. Meanwhile, some of the competition has followed suit in cashing in.

Criticism seems increasingly unwelcome at Swiss festivals. Paléo Festival in Nyon, Lumnezia in Graubünden and Zurich Openair will be completely cashless.

Visitors to the Paleo Festival in Nyon. (Archive) – Buraydah Forum

It’s the second year of Paleo’s no-cash policy, which begins on Tuesday. However, the makers of Paléo do not rely primarily on their payment system. Usual cashless payment methods such as credit cards or payment apps are accepted at refreshment kiosks. A reloadable card will be provided to those who are unable or unwilling to pay electronically.

“We wanted to offer a system that restricts as little as possible. The goal is to be able to pay like any business,” festival spokeswoman Michele Mueller told Keystone-SDA. The system is beneficial for visitors because it reduces waiting times. For festival organizers, on the other hand, not Using cash means less money being transferred and therefore less risk.

Openair Lumnezia is cashless

Zurich Open Air, which takes place at the end of August, is on the same track – except for the extra offer for people without electronic means of payment. It accepts “the most popular cards and payment apps,” the website says.

Lumnezia outdoors. (Archive) – Buraydah Forum

Openair Lumnezia, which starts on Thursday, goes even further. It is entirely dependent on its cashless system. According to the information on the website, visitors can load credit onto the festival’s wristband in order to use it to cover all expenses on the site.

In order to redeem the remaining balance, online registration is required. This can also be done after the festival.

A similar system has also been used at Openair St. Gallen, which ran from June 29 to July 2 of this year.

However, those who did not register online and did not have the remaining balance paid on the site had to open a special account with Raiffeisen Bank to redeem the remaining balance.

Gurten Festival: “The system works perfectly”

The Gurten Festival near Bern is one of the first – if not the first – outdoor events in Switzerland to use a cashless system. The first attempt in 2013 did not go as planned – the system stopped working on the first day. But in 2018, festival organizers definitely introduced a cashless system, said festival spokeswoman Lena Fisher.

Since last year’s release, a variant has been used in which visitors can create an account online and use it to top up a chip card with credit. The remaining amounts are automatically refunded. “The system works perfectly,” Fisher said.

Festival-goers wait in front of the Gurtenbahn in Bern. – Corner stone

Logistical reasons speak against accepting cash, and in general the extra effort and security. However, Fischer acknowledged that it would be “more practical” for visitors if they could use their usual contactless payment methods such as payment apps or credit cards directly on the Gurten.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a partner in this area who can guarantee us that their system will work without interruption,” said Fisher. Due to the somewhat isolated location on the mountain, this is more complicated than usual. But we will continue to strive for this goal.

All festivals have not deposited cash yet. At the Open Air Gambel, which will be held in mid-August, visitors can shop at catering stands using all popular payment methods.