By Barry Courter, Chattanooga Times Free Press - bio
Crowds fill Riverfront Parkway at the 2013 Riverbend festival. Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press
CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -
Riverbend is going high tech and will replace the admission pins that have been used since 1983 with wristbands that include a bar code, according to executive director Chip Baker.
The bar codes will be scanned upon entry and exit and will eventually provide demographic information to organizers. In the next couple of years, as costs decline, the wristbands will be outfitted with radio frequency identification chips, similar to those used by festivals such as the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN.
The chips allow festival organizers to monitor crowd flow through check points, disable lost or stolen wristbands and to even allow holders to make purchases using just the wristband. The wristbands will have a watermark as well, making them harder to counterfeit, according to spokeswoman Amy Morrow.
The traditional pins will still be available to collectors, Baker added, but a wristband will be required to enter the site. Eventually, perhaps within three years, the wristbands will replace tokens as a means of buying merchandise at the festival, he said. Patrons will be able to preload the chips like they do with a prepaid card and then use the wristbands to make purchases.
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