New Making Projects

The “Bandfest” Project

Bandfest bands are an exciting departure from paper tickets for the Edinburgh Festivals. These souvenir bands have been developed to be used both as the ticket to any specific event and as a means of gaining public reviews of each show.

After a talk by Joshua Ryan-Saha’s visiting to give our class information on the Edinburgh Festivals to be deeply intriguing I got to thinking about how I might develop a souvenir for this project. When he mentioned that one thing they found almost impossible was gaining reviews from the public; I knew this had to be my project’s focus.

I began brain-storming measurable festival data, thinking about how I might be able to gain reviews when they previously had been unable to do so, while also being able to create something that could be a souvenir.

Ideally, I wanted to create an object which generated the review data while also being the customer’s ticket and souvenir.

Before beginning my research I asked myself these questions:

How can a ticket be a souvenir?

What form would best suit a ticket & souvenir hybrid in a traditional craft & digital fabrication blended product?

How can a ticket generate data?

How can a ticket generate a review?

Can I keep the design environmentally friendly?


How can a ticket be a souvenir?

Many people keep their ticket stubs and pin them up on their walls or paste them into scrapbooks. I would consider this to be a self-generated souvenir of an event. I liked the idea of the ticket itself being the souvenir and wanted to stick to this within my project. 

What form would best suit a ticket & souvenir hybrid in a traditional craft & digital fabrication blended product?

I looked into digital tickets but decided that I wanted a physical souvenir so e-tickets weren’t the direction I wanted to go in. I began looking into collectables and crazes. When I was in high school (in the 90’s) gummies were all the rage. We used to wear hundreds of thin silicone bracelets and collect interesting coloured ones. These days gummies are still around but more often worn are much flatter and usually stamped or embossed version. These bands are usually momentos of donating to charity, running a race, a rally/special cause etc… and are both highly collectable and easily distinguished from other arm-wear.

I also briefly looked into the slap band craze but decided I wanted something that once on, would stay on. Plus through repeated use, the slap band type product could warp which isn’t what I want for my product.

I had a few traditional choices here, bead-working, silver-working or leather-working. I decided to go with leather-working as it’s a material I have always wanted to have the opportunity to work with and leather would blend really nicely with digital fabrication processes of laser cutting and engraving, blending both the traditional crafting and digital manufacturing processes together.

How can a ticket generate data?

My first idea was having something on my wrist-band that was detachable and colour-coded and could be left at the venue. This could then be counted up — each colour meaning a different number of stars and therefore giving the event staff an accurate and legitimate set of public reviews in numerical form. The event-goer on the other hand would then have a space left in their wrist-band which showed how many stars they had rated the show, giving further value to the souvenir.

After thinking about this idea more I decided it wouldn’t be as good an idea as I would like because the pieces that could be popped out and left (5 of them) could perhaps dislodge themselves and be lost afterward or perhaps during the show meaning that the wearer would no longer have the ability to give an accurate review.

I did not want to try for a lengthy review at the venue as it would likely cause congestion of people coming in and out o the shows which would both make following shows late and most likely put people off of giving a review.

RFID tags

Each band will be fitted with an RFID tag allowing fastback entry into the booked event. The small square on the right side of the band is where this tag will go. It can simply be touched to a scanner in the same manner as you would tap a bank card to use contactless payments. This keeps the movement of people into an event more efficient and also allows for data capture of numbers without manually adding people in. These tags will also be scannable at special booths where festival goers upon leaving a venue can give their star rating and receive a custom star-charm upon receipt.


Having decided that the pop out pieces from the bands were not a good idea, I ruminated over how else to solve the problem. I  thought it might be quite nice if (in the same way that you would scan the RFID tag on the “Bandfest” band to enter the event) You could scan the band on a machine and select a number of stars to give your review, gaining a star-charm once submitting the review containing the number of stars you rated the show. This would again tie in the traditional craft of bead-working along with the leather laser cut stars and would further add value to the souvenir. 

Can I keep the design environmentally friendly?

This question is one I feel every designer should take great care over. I had decided that I would try for leather as the material is warm and ages beautifully. It both cuts cleanly and engraves beautifully so it was the ideal material for my purposes. However, it should be noted that the product could be made from Pleather/PU Leather to lower the carbon footprint. I made the Bandfest bands out of real leather as I prefer the material to work with and could not get a hold of high enough grade vegan leather within the 6 weeks of this project so couldn’t do a comparison.

In the original design I meant for each festival to have a different colour of band. This still could be done but thought would have to go into the extra carbon impact of these extra processes.

Making the “Bandfest”bands

After creating the paternities in AutoCAD and converting to dxf format, the bands were laser engraved and cut. The leather took quite nicely even when I had problems with the file due to a clash during transfer. I would have preferred the engraving to have been a little brighter on some of the bands, but other than that I was pleased with how they turned out.

I tried a couple of different joining methods for the bands including two twisted cords and a Celtic plait in an attempt to make the closing attachments more decorative. However, I didn’t like how stiff the band became. I wanted it to remain soft and flexible. Another concern was that many sizes would need to be made to fit many wrist sizes which most likely wouldn’t fit well for a lot of people. Because of this I opted for an adjustable double sliding knot closure. This means that the band will fit a far wider variety of wrist sizes.

All in all I am quite pleased with the look and feel of my project. I think it could be a legitimate option for something like the Edinburgh Festivals which would generate the data they desire and also simultaneously be a collectable souvenir for the festival-goer.