Music Festival Ticketing Software How-to: Advance Planning

music festival event software

Are you tasked with establishing a new, or expanding an existing, music festival? This guide shows how advanced planning is the key to success and that step-one is choosing the right music festival ticketing software.

The Key To Success: Advanced Planning

Music festivals, particularly ones that occur in city streets, have some unique challenges. Cooperating with the municipalities involved can be a time consuming task, but ultimately worthwhile when the festival operator plans well ahead. City permits, event insurance, cultivating the roster of event sponsors and vendors, are just the start of what needs to be done.

Just outside of Palm Springs, in Cathedral City, California, advance planning is well underway for the ‘Arts, Music, Film and More Festival’ (AMFM). The festival is scheduled for late June and was recently given the green light by a city council vote. The vote centered on a special use permit allowing the event to take place beyond the boundaries of the venue.

It is anticipated that AMFM will draw a substantial crowd because of the celebrity art work set to be on display. Actor Viggo Mortensen from ‘Lord of the Rings’ and controversial musician Marilyn Manson will both have their artwork in exhibition.

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Note that as part of advance preparations, the city is underwriting some of the festival's costs, but with a catch. The festival operators will need to gather up a roster of event sponsors that will pay a sum greater than or equal to the city's contribution of $50,000. Such conditions are common for music festivals in the planning stage to kick start a budget. Festival operators may find the same “in kind” offer available is for their event, but make sure that such underwriting is not tied directly to permit approval.

In Shakopee Minnesota, the Greater Downtown Savage Music Festival is hoping to expand its scope and is seeking a special permit to close city streets. At issue are past complaints about noise levels. The rowdy rock and roll concert is a fantastic financial windfall for the city, but (justifiably) cautious advance planning is first being performed. Padding the city coffers with cash means little if the event is considered a nuisance by area residents.

Addressing the concerns, city administrator Barry Stock said he “[finds] it difficult to imagine that without some noise obstruction wall or berm it would be possible for an outdoor band to remain under the 65 decibel limit.

Sound levels can be a genuine sticking point for outdoor music festivals, which explains why so many are held in parks and far afield areas well outside of city limits. The permitting process can be more judiciously executed if the festival operators voluntarily offer caps on noise levels (measured in decibels). Not doing so puts the onus on the city officials, who have a reputation for mandating sound levels that are too low, mostly because of their inexperience with modern rock concerts.

Triple digit decibel levels are not a concern at every outdoor music festival, but staffing and gate control always are primary concerns. When held in the city streets, free concerts are a simple matter, of course. But when the concert requires a paid ticket, the matter of efficiently and safely getting folks through the gate becomes of a critical concern - especially when thousands of people are expected. One of the best practices is to have staff at the gate making use of handheld scanners (for paper tickets, wristbands, etc.) connected together over a wifi or a cellular network. The best in festival ticketing software support handheld scanners being at every entrance gate, but few include advance features such as real-time ticket validation.

"We drove 3,000 miles"

One may wonder why the music festival examples above are putting so much into advance planning. It is because festivals are a unique animal among ticketed events. Few other event types cause such an emotional reaction in patrons. An untold number of life-changing moments have occurred at music festivals not to mention the profound impact some have had on our collective culture.

An example of just how meaningful festivals are, and the lengths some will go to in order to attend, one need only read the virtual love to music festivals letter penned by Lynne Champlin.

We once drove 3,000 miles to the mountains of southwestern Virginia for the annual Ralph Stanley “Hills of Home” Bluegrass Festival on top of Clinch Mountain near Coeburn, Va. Ralph Stanley and his brother Carter were raised here in a part of Virginia near Kentucky and Tennessee.

If you are currently planning a new music festival, or expanding an existing one, Champlin's heartfelt essay is worth reading since it is a reminder of just what is at stake (and thus a validation of your time, effort and advance planning). If Champlin is just one of your ticket buyers, imagine the collective expectations of all ten thousand!

Step 1: Choose The Right Festival Ticketing Software

Meeting the expectations of your ticket buyers has something in common with all the advance planning - your choice in festival ticketing software. No other component of a music festival threads itself from beginning to end than the ticketing software.

The ThunderTix plan for music festivals is tailored to served your needs during the advance planning stages of a new event as well as when expanding an existing one. Our technology powers some of the largest events in the U.S. and Canada but scales to suit your music festival no matter the size.

When it comes to gate control, ThunderTix is an industry leader in barcode tickets, scanning and gate fraud reduction.

The vast majority of your patrons are there to have fun but a very small fraction may be trying to get in for free with fraudulent tickets.

We offer sophisticated barcode ticket printing and scanning  in our Festival plan. The peace of mind starts with barcodes on thermal paper tickets you print in your box office (or the PDF tickets automatically emailed to your buyers). Thundertix is an industry leader in thermal ticket printing and we support the popular models you may already be using. We also offer the cost savings of Print-at-Home tickets that attendees print themselves using their printer ink and paper, not yours.

Interested in the cost savings that is to be had for your music festival? Please contact us at your convenience.