10 July 2019

By Caitlin GUILFOYLE, Account Manager – AURES UK

Stellar live music acts, round the clock partying, extravagant outfits, a carnival atmosphere, living out of a tent – all of these are familiar features of summer music festivals.

In the UK alone, an estimated 3.7 million people attend more than 200 festivals every year. That’s a lot of camping space and a lot of entertainment to provide. But it is also a lot of water and mouths to feed, not to mention an enormous ready-made market for entrepreneurs looking to sell their wares.

Over the past couple of decades, the festival circuit has given rise to its own retail and hospitality ecosystem. Thousands of small traders specialising in everything from handicrafts to clothing, street food to craft brewing, make a living catering to the needs of the festival crowds.

It can be a lucrative and exciting business. But it also presents a variety of unique challenges – not least how to effectively manage sales in a remote field a good few clicks from what feels like civilisation.

And nowadays, with the modern festival goer expecting to be able to pay for food and memorabilia with their card or smartphone the same way they would in their local high street, traders have to be prepared to embrace technology. The money belt has gone, to be replaced by a very 21st century equivalent – Mobile EPOS.

Festival ready

Mobile EPOS (M-POS) is made up of three core components – a piece of point of sale software run on a mobile device with a cashless payment reader attachment. Nowadays, traders can sign up for EPOS apps to run on their tables or smartphone, and buy separate card reader to attach via USB. This creates a portable, flexible equivalent to a full point of sale terminal, complete with touchscreen and full access to business management software – just a lot easier to carry and set up somewhere like a festival.

While Mobile EPOS apps run on smartphones make for a convenient option, one thing to bear in mind is that festivals can be high risk environments for any kind of tech. With little more than a bit of canvas separating your temporary store or cafe from the elements, the dangers posed by rain and mud, not to mention boisterous crowds of revellers, have to be factored in. As great as they are, iPads are not designed to withstand drinks spillages or being dropped in puddles – an accident like that could cease your ability to trade.

Purpose built M-POS devices like those AURES manufactures, are designed to be robust and reliable in all environments. From water and dust protection to special anti-smash screens and chassis, they are built to withstand all the rigours of outdoor trading while still providing full mobility.

Another critical factor to consider with festival EPOS is connectivity. Your M-POS tablet will only be effective if you have a reliable wireless network connection for the duration of the event. With mobile coverage in many remote festival sites notoriously hit and miss and the public Wi-Fi provided heavily oversubscribed, it is important to cover all bases. Ask the event organisers if there is a separate, private and secure Wi-Fi network on site for traders. But for payments processing especially, cover your own back by finding a service that will make use of mobile 3G and 4G connections from major network providers, switching to whichever offers the best signal at any one time.