Thursday, November 19, 2009

Arm bands look black for festivals

Is it just me, or does the threat of fake armbands really not seem to be that much of a risk to festivals, surely?

Reg Walker has told the UK Festival Awards and Conference that it's going to be a big problem:

Speaking at the UK Festival Awards and Conference in London on Thursday, Mr Walker said about 100 wristbands had been seized at this year's Reading Festival.

"What's worrying is the quality of the wristband, right down to the barcode. They're highly convincing and virtually indistinguishable from the real item," he said.

It should be pointed out that Mr Walker is from festival security company Iridim Security, and thus has a financial interest in encouraging people to stamp out this sort of thing.

Thing is, though, if these wristbands are so uncannily similar, it doesn't seem likely that some bloke is going in as soon as the gates open, run home and get out the John Bull Printing Kit. In other words, this isn't so much a story about how security can help root out the forgers; more about how the current security around production of these wristbands is breaking down.

That's not what Mr Walker believes:
And while some counterfeiters may have inside information on the design of wristbands, Mr Walker said others simply get one when the gates of a event opens, then "take that apart and copy it, giving them a 24 or 48 hour turnaround time."

For a three-day festival, a 48 hour turnaround seems a little weak - is there really that many people who will hand enough cash for the last couple of days to make it worthwhile doing it large numbers?

Reg Walker is predicting that a festival will see a major problem next year - "there is a plan to manufacture them [the fake wristbands] in their thousands."

Really? The sudden influx of thousands of people on the second or third day of a festival wouldn't look a little suspicious?

And where are these thousands of wristbands going to be sold, exactly? Not online, as that would be like posting a giant 'arrest me' sign on the web. So presumably this is going to involve touting - and where are you going to find thousands of buyers for wristbands for a festival already underway? Not in one place, suggesting the need for a sales force spreading out across the country. Has anyone really thought this through?