Frustrated vendors and festival goers faced technological difficulties at the ACL Eats food court at Zilker Park yesterday, as the electronic wristbands that allow for cashless purchases at the Austin City Limits Festival worked intermittently throughout the day.
The festival encouraged attendees to link their wristbands to a credit card for the third straight year, but unlike the first two iterations of the tech advancement, this year the process hit some serious snags. P. Terry’s owner Patrick Terry said he was told there was an issue with the Wi-Fi system that was intended to sync up festivalgoers’ wristbands with the tablets the vendors were issued for sales. A festival rep told Terry that they tried throughout the day to fix the syncing problems, even increasing the bandwidth, but it didn’t make a difference.
“In the past we’ve had minor issues, but nothing like this,” Terry said.
Terry, who is selling burgers at the festival for the 10th year, said the technological issues affected sales. A normal Friday would usually see about 6,500 burgers sold from the Austin-based burger operation, but this Friday sales were below 6,000. Austin’s Pizza owners J.D. Torian said his business also suffered a decrease in sales, and a couple of other vendors said off the record that their sales took a hit ranging from 25 to 40 percent.
“It was rough because most of the concertgoers are trained to use the chip in their bracelets to pay for things,” Terry said.
Terry said his team was in communication with a rep from festival producer C3 Presents throughout the day and received occasional updates.
“I’ve found in the past the ACL and C3 guys to be extremely professional. I know this is frustrating for them and not any fun for them and our hope is that they get it worked out today and for the rest of the festival,” Terry said.
A rep from the festival Saturday morning acknowledged that there were intermittent connectivity problems that kept some patrons from being able to utilize cashless payments Friday but is optimistic going forward.“We worked through the night to improve our systems and expect full functionality today,” the festival rep said in an email.