Music Festival Wristbands – Mistakes to Avoid

Music festivals are one of the largest users of wristbands in the World. Almost every music festival in Europe, the US or Australia uses wristbands as a means of identifying a range of people, from punters/attendees and staff to artists and volunteers.

The reasons for this are numerous; wristbands are cost effective, non transferable  (assuming good quality bands have been purchased!), easily visible to security staff checking identification, and there are enough different styles of wristband to suit almost all budgets and event requirements in terms of durability, security rating and appearance.

For the sake of clarity, within this article we’re referring to a music festival as any music-orientated event lasting from 1 day up. Many will maintain that a music festival must last several days, including Australian music festival genius Peter Noble of Bluesfest “an event is something that’s a rolling show that happens once and then goes to the next town. A festival is a multi-day occurrence at one place..” (sourced from For simplicity’s sake, let’s agree to the above, but then ignore it for now!

Music festivals also come in all different styles and sizes, subject to the genre they’re focused on, their size, their venue(s), the management and even the punters themselves.

As a manufacturer, supplier and printer of wristband products for hundreds of music festivals around the world, AAC ID Solutions is often asked “what mistakes should we be trying to avoid with our wristbands?” With 17+ years experience supplying all manner of wristbands to all manner of events, we’ve been providing this advice for a long time, but here it is for all to see.

Mistake Number 1: Using a wristband supplier who has never supplied a music festival

20 years ago, each country had maybe 2-3 companies who could supply festival wristbands. These days, Googling “Wristbands” generates dozens of search results and advertisements. The problem with this, along with the ease of building a nice looking website, is that it makes it very hard for the user, music festival or otherwise, to determine who is a strong supplier with the greatest capabilities and experience, and who is a ‘here today gone tomorrow’ operator. Mistake number 1 is not seeking recommendations on a wristband supplier and finding out whether they are actually capable of looking after your event!

Mistake Number 2: Failing to order all festival wristbands at the same time

For big events, it is dangerous to order wristbands in batches. With so many types of wristband often required (we’ve supplied wristbands for some events that incorporate 40+ designs and 4+ types of wristband), it is vital that wristbands are ordered at the same time to ensure there are no conflicts in terms of colour schemes, patterns, styles etc. Mistake Number 2 is not putting enough time in to ensuring ALL wristbands required make sense and are ordered together.

Mistake Number 3: Ordering the wrong type of wristband, not taking quality seriously enough

‘It’s just a wristband’ we hear festival organisers say. This couldn’t be further from the truth. With the identification wristband market growing quickly, there are inevitably a wide range of cheap knock-offs available in all types of wristband. We’ve seen the following:

  • Fabric/woven wristbands that have loose closures
  • Plastic wristbands that are so thin they can physically be torn in half
  • Tyvek wristbands where the adhesive does not last more than a few hours

Whilst having more options is always great for festivals, it is crucial that the right type of wristband is ordered and that the wristband chosen (or recommended) is of a quality that will last for the duration of your festival.

A lot of companies will recommend a Tyvek wristband for multiday events, which is not right. These are single day wristbands. Likewise, they may insist, due to time pressures, that a plain wristband is acceptable – see mistake 5 below. Mistake Number 3 is not taking the time to discuss wristband features and benefits and not obtaining samples of wristbands prior to making an order.

Mistake Number 4: Not checking wristbands the moment they arrive at your office/site

So you’ve ticked off all the right parts of the ordering process. You’re confident that you’ve selected the right wristband design, avoided conflicting colours, purchased the right style of wristband, signed off on the right artwork, met the delivery times and now the wristbands are delivered and sitting in your festival office. Open the boxes! Yes, all the above may be great, but check the physical wristbands the minute they arrive.

Colours of certain types of wristband (or their ink colours) may vary in real life vs a PDF file. This can be especially true of woven wristbands. Secondly, count them. Not all wristband suppliers operate like AAC with strict quality control measures. Of course, if you’ve ordered from AAC, this won’t be an issue!

Mistake Number 5: Not custom printing wristbands

Plain wristbands are not recommended for music festivals. Festival Directors and Managers, especially those running big events, know exactly how quickly fake wristband products will appear at their event. Generally this takes an hour to 3 hours. Scalpers and those aiming to sell fake wristbands for your event will be ready and waiting. As soon as your gates open and you’re ‘wristbanding’ people, they’ll be there to collect a wristband and then disappear off to copy it.

There are numerous ways to prevent this, or at least make it harder, with the simplest being to ensure all festival wristbands are custom printed and sequentially numbered; and then communicating to your security team what sequential numbers they should be looking out for. Different wristbands have different security ratings, and there are many more ways to increase the security of a wristband, just ask us. Mistake Number 5 is not custom printing your wristbands and not taking the risk of scalpers seriously!


Wristbands are just wristbands, except when they’re not! If you’re buying wristbands for a music festival, take the time to avoid the mistakes above.

Talk to AAC ID Solutions for all your festival wristband and accreditation requirements.

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