Reducing Queue Times at Music Festivals – Meet T.A.R.S

T.A.R.S is a self-service ticketing terminal designed to reduce queue times for music festivals. The product enhances the entry queue experience for patrons by increasing the efficiency of the ticketing process.

Magnus Murray-Douglass

The problem: Long entry queues

Over 10 million Australians attended live music events in 2018 with the sector seeing a 20% increase in attendance from the previous year (Live Performance Australia, 2019). Growing demand for bigger and better contemporary music festivals has left event organisers searching for ways to improve customer experiences wherever possible. Research conducted with patrons and festival managers alike, revealed the greatest need for improvement in this space for both demographics was to increase the efficiency of entry queues as a means to enhance the ticketing experience.

Photo credit: Canva

The solution: The ticket automation and referencing system

The Ticket Automation and Referencing System or ‘TARS’ for short, is a self-service ticketing terminal designed to reduce entry queue times and enhance the user experience while ticketing. TARS operates at the entrance gates of large music festivals and is capable of scanning user’s e-tickets, confirming their identification, and can also safely and quickly place a wristband on patrons before they enter the festival.

With current lane arrangements, u18s have access to 2 out of 7 entry lanes, and over 18s having access to 5 out of 7. The issue here is that these two demographics arrive at different times, leading to lanes being opened for users who will arrive hours later. To improve the effectiveness of lane space, TARS can store up to four classes of wristband (u18/18+/backstage etc) which allows event organisers to combine the lines for both u18 and over 18 patrons – thereby always having 7 lanes open for entry at all times. This has the added benefit of keeping parties together – again reducing blockages to walkways as patrons try to find their parents/guardians.

How does it work?

The TARS terminal is filled with technology which combines many of the ticketing processes previously completed as individual steps. It takes advantage of new technology such as facial recognition and RFID ticket confirmation to increase the speed at which users can complete the required verification steps. The new ticketing process using TARS is as follows:

1. User purchases e-ticket via the rTick app.
2. User scans face to be used later as facial verification.
3. User scans driver license or other photo ID to confirm age and verify the user owns the license.

At event
1. User arrives at event and queues in ANY lane.
2. Bag is checked by security.
3. User waits for next available TARS terminal to flash green, indicating it is ready to be used.
4. User completes verification using TARS.
5. User enters festival.

A more detailed overview of the process of use for TARS can be seen below.

Key Features

Magnus Murray-Douglass

For three years, Magnus Murray-Douglass has worked as Australian Droid and Robot's (ADR) industrial designer with a team including engineers and a theoretical physicist to innovate across the fields of unmanned air, ground and surface vehicles as well as other robotic systems. Magnus is passionate about using user-led research and design strategy to improve interactions between products/systems and their users and has focussed his Honours Year dissertation on patron ticketing experiences at music festivals.