Recently, a crowd of over 12,000 enjoyed a one-day music festival in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park. This was the second Party in the Park and this year’s line-up included the Atlanta band The Electric Sons along with Yeasayer, GROUPLOVE, Ellie Goulding and Passion Pit.
In this article, we’ll talk a little about the overall festival layout, the on-sale and advance ticketing process, and Ticket Alternative’s duties on site.
Building the Buzz
The 2013 Party in the Park was originally announced at the beginning of March and the headliners were revealed as Passion Pit, Ellie Goulding and GROUPLOVE. Several hundred thousand emails went out through various media outlets, music blogs and promoters teasing the line-up and a special pre-sale price of $30.00 – the General on sale was set for Saturday, March 9th and tickets were then priced at $35.00. While the pre-sale was underway, our Marketing team was heavily promoting the public on sale through Twitter, Facebook campaigns, Google+, blog posts on Atlanta Music Guide and Ticket Alternative, and email blasts to our Atlanta database of over 275,000 subscribers. Fans quickly snapped the tickets up and started RSVP-ing to the event on Facebook. Our integrated Facebook app allowed ticket buyers to let their friends know they were attending. Ticket buyers could click ‘I’m going’ either at the beginning of the ticket purchase process or at the end, on the confirmation page. Meanwhile, customers could also simply pick up the phone and purchase their tickets through Ticket Alternative’s knowledgeable and friendly Call Center.
Using our Google Analytics package, and by tracking the various email campaigns that each used a unique link, the promoter was able to determine which campaigns were the most successful and see where most of the website traffic was coming from. Google has a free tool that anyone can use to create unique URLs that you can easily track in Google Analytics, under the ‘Campaigns’ section.
The Life Cycle of the Event
All events have a life cycle. Various marketing ideas such as these below continue to generate interest over the life of the event.
- There’s the pre-sale buzz that is created before tickets are released for sale – you tease the artists, the line-up and perhaps a special pre-sale price
- Then, there’s the actual on-sale when tickets are released to the general public and everyone starts sharing their purchase and starts making plans to attend the event
- Follow that up with lots of content to share. We like to do artist interviews such as our 5GB feature where ask bands about their favorites gigs of all time, their first gig and their dream gig
- By creating lots of content, you give bloggers a reason to write about your event and you provide for fans to share and like. New content stays in in front of everyone without rehashing the same messaging over and over again
- As the event draws nearer, announcing the schedule always draws a lot of attention. Fans want to know who’s playing when, and on which stage
- Then you start the countdown… we’re 2 weeks away, we’re 1 week away… etc etc
- As you start to release more information about the experience the fans will have on-site, they start to get excited and you’ve got more content to share
- Posting lots of rich media is key too because fans love to share content, especially exclusive content. Behind the scenes footage and photos, a glimpse of the VIP experience, stage access – all those sorts of photos increase “shares”
- Then the big day arrives. Again, posting lots of content for fans to share is the key – that backstage shot, or even better, that special shot from on stage looking out at the crowd – post that photo on Facebook and you’ll have thousands of fans tagging themselves!
- Instagram contests asking fans to share photos to win VIP access or Backstage access always do well. Now, with Vine, short videos are really popular. What’s better than a 6 second animated photo with sound?!
- But it doesn’t end with the event. Even after the event you can keep the buzz going as fans share their experiences, photos, mishaps etc.
- We regularly send photographers out to the events to get grab-and-grin shots so that you not only have shots of the bands to share, but photos of attendees to share as well. Photo galleries continue to be a popular attraction. And, if you post them on Facebook, everyone can tag themselves thus reaching an even bigger audience
On-Site Staffing – Ticket Sales, Scanning and Entry Management.
We visited the Party in the Park event site weeks before the festival to establish the perfect event set-up. From entry gates to ticket sellers, and running cable, Ticket Alternative maps out an event to ensure a seamless run. Meetings were scheduled with the planners and promoters, to cover topics that included: access points, scanners, VIPs, cash handling, customer service, settlement and more.
One of the things that we’re well known for is providing well-trained, courteous staff for on-site operations. All of our cash-handling staff members have completed background checks, which is important when we’re trusted to handle potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.
For this event, we provided:
- 2 Senior event managers to oversee the event and handle settlement
- Multiple staff as ticket scanners (at the main gate, the Chamber gate and the VIP gate)
- Multiple staff as ticket sellers (to handle cash/credit card sales)
- 1 Customer Service agent for troubleshooting. (lost tickets, exchanges, upgrades etc)
- Gate captains to oversee each gate
- Multiple Point-Of-Sale terminals, credit card swipes and Boca Ticket Printers
- Multiple handheld scanners
- 1 Access Server
- 3 Access Points
- About 500FT of cat 5 cable
Party in the Park had 3 entrances: Main Gate, Chamber Gate and the VIP Gate.
VIP Ticket Holders
Only VIP ticket holders could enter through the VIP gate which immediately gave them access to the VIP area and the hospitality area. VIP tickets included unlimited food and beverages. By giving VIP ticket holders their own gate they escalated the value of that package. It’s also where guests redeemed their ticket for the coveted VIP wristband. VIP ticket holders were also allowed to enter the event through any gate and were instructed to then head to the inside VIP gate to obtain their VIP wristband.
General Admission Ticket Holders
General Admission ticket holders could enter through either the main gate or through the Chamber gate. Ticket Alternative provided the staff to scan tickets or barcodes on smart phones. Additionally, a customer service agent was on hand to troubleshoot or reprint any forgotten tickets. Additionally, customers who needed directions or had questions about what items were or were not permitted at the festival could contact Ticket Alternative’s Call Center for more information.
Cash Handling and Settlement
As with any event that handles a substantial amount of cash, regular drops were done throughout the day as the amount of cash the Sellers received increased. We balanced each batch, starting back with a new bank for every drop, which meant we were essentially balancing throughout the day. This saved a substantial amount of time at the end of the day. We were also responsible for the VIP wristbands, as they were treated like cash too. Wristbands were checked out and signed for and had to balance with the number of sales and number of wristbands issued at the end of the event.
Our POS solution worked flawlessly throughout the day. We offered both Cash/Credit and Cash only lines for ticket buyers and never saw anyone waiting in line but for a few minutes.
Our Access Control solution was fast and we were able to scan ticket holders in without any delay, other than the typical pat-down for public events by security staff.
By 10:00 p.m. the last band (Passion Pit) was well into its set and things were starting to wind down. We reduced our entry lanes down to one, and kept a single POS station open until 10:15 p.m. when we called it.
While the rest of the team packed all the gear away (got to love those Pelican cases) the two Senior staff finished the final settlement, turned over the cash to the promoter and credit card receipts and made sure everything balanced.
Let Us Help Organize Your Next Festival
One of the best things about Ticket Alternative is the ability to handle your ticketing literally from start to finish. From before the first ticket is sold, to fighting the last charge-back, we’re confident in our ability to manage the ticketing experience for your event. Our ticketing solutions are not confined to Atlanta; we regularly send staff out to work events across the country. Over the course of the Party in the Park weekend, we had staff working 4 different events in 3 states. From beer festivals to film festivals, we have experienced it all. Whether your event is single day, or multi-day we have a solution to fit and will provide the best staff in the business. The relationships we’ve built with the event organizers we work with on-site are the perfect example of what we do best.
Interested in reading more of our Party in the Park coverage? Click on these posts below!
- Atlanta Music Guide Review & Photos
- Facebook Event Photo Album
- Interview with The Electric Sons
- Interview with Grouplove
- Atlanta Music Guide Announces the Schedule & Shares Event Info
- Atlanta Music Guide Shares the Lineup Announcement
- VIP Announcement
- Party in the Park Schedule and Information on TA Live