Get ready for these Fly festivals

Festival season is no longer confined to the sweltering summer months. There are awesome festivals happening year-round—some starting as early as this week! Many of the best music gatherings in North America are powered by Ticketfly and we couldn’t be more psyched. Tell your festie besties and mark your calendars for these upcoming ‘fly fests.

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Fly Fam: welcoming Ticketfly’s new partners

Last year, we grew to an astounding 1700 live event partners across the U.S. and Canada. They come on board because of our industry-best service, our powerhouse marketing initiatives– driven by our partnership with Pandora– and innovative product offerings like Lyte, our fan-to-fan ticket exchange for sold out shows. TIcketfly is proud to support leading venues and promoters, powering everything from club shows to music festivals to rodeos. There’s always room for more members of the ‘fly fam and we’re excited to welcome these latest additions to the bunch.

Brooklyn’s Union Hall has just about everything you’d need for palling around with your buddies: live music, comedy, DJs, poutine, and bocce ball. They take that last one just as seriously as they do the rest of their offerings, holding regular bocce tournaments (we’re rooting for team I Wanna Dance With Some Bocce for the name alone). And their stage offerings are grade-A. The 5,000 square foot bar, restaurant and venue is the home of writer Jon Ronson (So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, The Men Who Stare At Goats) and comedian Maeve Higgins’ monthly “Cool Kids” show.

Live music and comedy are wonderful and all, but sometimes you need something a little more vibrant and visual. For more than 15 years, Art Battle has stunned crowds across the world by pitting some of the best painters and street artists against one another. What started in New York City in 2001 is now a traveling live art extravaganza that’s popped up in 75 cities in 16 countries. Be on the lookout for a battle near you. And if you think you can hang, apply to compete and step up to the easel.

If Chance the Rapper showed us anything at the 2017 Grammy Awards, it’s that you can put on an incredible show while being devoted to your faith. Rush Concerts has been doing that since 1997. The company promotes Christian music events, bringing bands and artists such as Jeremy Camp, Switchfoot and more to venues across the country. They’re currently promoting concerts for MercyMe and Casting Crowns throughout the midwest.

Hodi’s Half Note doesn’t half-step. The intimate club is a go-to for live music in Fort Collins, CO. That shouldn’t come as a surprise after glancing at their eclectic calendar. From punk pioneer Jello Biafra’s Incredibly Strange Dance Party and the Ned Flanders-inspired metal outfit Okilly Dokilly to Chicago rapper Alex Wiley and the funky Fort Knox Five, Hodi’s is a guaranteed good time.

If Rodeo Austin’s slogan—“Where Weird Meets Western”—doesn’t intrigue you, their lineup surely will. The 15-day fair and rodeo, held from March 11 to 25, boasts dozens of musical performances that go beyond the country lasso. Sure, you can catch country stars such as Dwight Yoakam and Cole Swindell, but you can also catch legendary soul singer Patti Labelle and dance-pop group Fitz and the Tantrums. The real star, of course, is the rodeo, which features everything from bull riding to mutton bustin’. Plus, there are carnival rides, corn dogs, livestock shows and more. Grab your cowboy hat and get weird!

The Blind Tiger has been serving up cold beer and live music in Greensboro, NC since 1998. Known for bringing some of the best bands to the region, the venue has hosted everyone from Hootie and the Blowfish to Of Montreal. With nearly 20 years under its belt, the Blind Tiger isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

Draw Events has a really big duck. In fact, it’s The World’s Largest Rubber Duck. The massive inflatable pops up at waterfront events produced by Draw including the Tall Ships festival, which hosts ship tours, daily ship tours and family friendly entertainment. The festival has appeared in Los Angeles, Key West and Duluth, MN, among other cities. Stay tuned to Draw Events to see where the duck will pop up next.

Green Machine Concerts is a well-oiled promotions company that brings some of the best live music events to venues throughout the country, including assisting colleges with booking campus concerts. On deck for 2017 so far are two monster shows: Kenny Chesney in Madison, MS in May and Journey in Southaven, MS in July.

There are countless historic venues in Los Angeles, but only one can trace its roots to Great Depression America. Exchange LA is aptly-named: the colossal, four-story nightclub is housed in the former Los Angeles Stock Exchange, constructed in 1931. Though it’s undergone renovations—following strict Historic Cultural Landmarks guidelines—Exchange LA is still money. The nightclub boasts state-of-the-art lighting and technology and an equally impressive lineup of EDM DJs on any given night.

Metroplex Live makes big noise in Little Rock, AR. The events company primarily holds events at The Metroplex Event Center, which can hold up to 2,500 people. Not only can you catch concerts from the likes of Dropkick Murphy’s, you’ll also see mixed martial arts fights, bridal fairs and more.

Atlanta’s Aisle 5 might be a newcomer on the scene, but the venue already stands out as one of the city’s best. Opening in 2014 and located in the Little Five Points district, Aisle 5 is a multi-genre venue known for showcasing some of the most buzzed about local and touring bands, cheap craft beers, top-notch quality sound. If you don’t trust us, check their Yelp reviews.

Ticketfly-powered sites: designed with your fans in mind

While people know Ticketfly is a ticketing platform — heck, the word comprises most of our name — it’s by no means all that we do. As a full-service live event technology platform, Ticketfly also designs, builds, and powers custom websites for over 800 of our live event partners. Because no two venues, festivals, or event promoters are alike, being able to provide a truly bespoke solution is key. This is why we have a team of talented designers, developers, and project managers dedicated full-time to building our websites and custom email templates. Each site we create needs to communicate the unique elements of its venue, showcase upcoming events, and of course be incredibly functional, delightful, and easy to use. Finally, it needs to be easy to manage so our partners can spend time planning events, not wrangling IT.

Here are three sites that were launched recently that represent the best of what we offer.

TAO

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TAO‘s new Ticketfly-powered site transports you into the heart of this unique 60,000 square-foot multi-story venue that boasts one of Las Vegas’s best Asian restaurants, a nightclub where world class DJs perform, and an outdoor beach-themed daytime club. The site’s striking design utilizes video backgrounds and gorgeous large photos to tell the story of TAO’s iconic spaces, but not at the expense of simplicity on the backend. The site was built expressly to let our partners at TAO easily edit content, keeping each page fresh and accurate without the need of outside support.

 

Birdland

The original Birdland opened in New York City more than sixty years ago, in December of 1949. The club’s reputation as an historic jazz destination was built one show at at time, with greats of the day performing as part of memorable double and triple bills.

Named for one the club’s earliest and biggest draws, Charlie Parker (known as “Bird” to fans and fellow musicians), Birdland, on any given night, would host jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Stan Getz, and Erroll Garner entertaining a packed house.

Our team was tasked with leading a complete refresh for Birdland’s website, with the goal of capturing the rich history of the club through a clean, easy to navigate layout, packed with visually appealing new and historic imagery. Birdland still curates double and triple bills and continues to draw crowds today. Their Ticketfly-powered website makes sure jazz fans won’t have to miss a beat.

 

Fox Theatre

Recently voted the fourth best music venue in the country by Rolling Stone Magazine, Fox Theatre, located in Boulder, Colorado, is a 625-capacity venue that welcomes top-notch talent with a mind-blowing sound system.

Fox Theatre’s own rich history, dating back to the mid-1920’s, inspired the design for the venue’s new website. The eye-catching Art Deco logo and impressive use of photos anchor the site, which seamlessly remixes classic design elements with clean functionality.

If your website needs some love, maybe it’s time to consider a mobile-friendly, integrated website built and hosted by Ticketfly. Put your brand first and save time with a site that’s fully integrated with our ticketing, marketing, and analytics platform. Interested? Let’s talk.

Venkman’s feeds Atlanta’s local music community

Weekly jazz nights, inventive comfort food and a classy, modern ambiance—Venkman’s is quite the upgrade from the cramped basements Peter Olson used to play in with his 70s tribute band/comedy troupe Yacht Rock Revue. But the Atlanta restaurant and music venue, which recently celebrated its 1-year anniversary, is now his and the rest of the local music community’s home base.

Venkman’s opened in September 2015 in the city’s Old Fourth Ward. It was a vision Olson and business partner/bandmate Nick Niespodziani dreamt up while on the road.

“As we began to tour more regularly, we discovered music venues that were raising the bar for concert-going experiences by offering things like chef-driven menus, craft cocktail programs, and artist hospitality that you typically don’t see outside of large theaters and performing art centers,” Olson says. “Having set sail with everyone from KISS to Weezer to Kid Rock to Zac Brown Band, we learned everything we needed to know about creating artist community and, of course, being artists ourselves, we know how we like to be treated.”

Their vision didn’t become a reality overnight. It took two years of calculated planning and finding the right people to make it happen. Thankfully, Olson and Niespodziani knew a thing or two about the business and had a tight network. The two handled the booking initially, later bringing on talent buyer Rhiannon Klee, with Yacht Rock Revue’s front of house engineer Kip Conner designing their impeccable sound system. They also found a partner in Ticketfly that’s evolved with them. “When we were getting ready to open the doors of Venkman’s, Ticketfly offered a nice clean system that is easy to use. Since we signed up, Ticketfly has added a plethora of fantastic venues around the Southeast to their roster,” Olson says.

The missing morsel, however, was the food.

To help bring their concept to life, Olson and Niespodziani tapped executive chef Nick Melvin to take helm of the kitchen and become a partner in Venkman’s. “Nick’s passion and approach in the kitchen mirrors what we’re aiming to curate on the stage,” Olson says.

Venkman’s own Nick Niespodziani, Nick Melvin, and Peter Olson

The result is a carefully curated, elevated experience that’s perfect for anyone. In fact, the Venkman’s website boasts that it’s a place “where you can bring a first date who you really want to impress or your truck-driving uncle from Mississippi.”

“At first glance, the interior vibe might be perceived on the fancier side of music venue decor. The overall ambiance of the space allows you to dress up to the intimacy you’re looking for on a first date or special occasion. But if you dig into the treatments you’ll find a little flavor from grandma’s basement,” Olson explains. “I think it’s that element of comfort in the design along with our welcoming staff that allows everyone to feel welcome under the same roof.”

The diverse menu helps, too. While your typical music venue might not stray too far from burgers and wings, Venkman’s restaurant takes it to another level. There’s Maple Roasted Squash, BBQ Mussels, Fennel Shrimp, Smoked Beef Cheek and a Pulled Mushroom Roll, among other mouthwatering offerings. And we haven’t even gotten to the brunch menu, which has foodies raving on Yelp (trust, it’s not just the bottomless mimosas talking).

While the restaurant has racked up fame and notoriety, the music is the real seasoning. Venkman’s offers live music during and after every meal, including dinner five nights a week and during brunch on the weekends. You might even see various members of Yacht Rock Review performing, be it unplugged sets on Sundays, reprised performances of their album shows or any number of their side projects. But the main purpose is to give a platform to locals.

“We’re striving to participate in movement to support local artistry and creation,” Olson says. “We’re offering support for the talented musicians to achieve excellence at their craft by providing gigs at jazz and bluegrass brunches and early evening shows. We’re working with groups like Jan Smith Studios and ATL Girls Rock Camp to provide a location for young musicians to develop their craft. We try to provide the best artist hospitality in Atlanta when it comes to food and service, not to mention a beautiful space to play with a top notch sound system.”

With one year down, Olson says he and his partners will continue to up their game in 2017.

“We hope to continue to grow and improve every aspect of the dining/concert experience,” he says. “Striving for excellence means you’re constantly working on customer service, menu, booking calendar, sound system, and connecting with the community. We’re just getting started.”

Ticketfly will be working right alongside them! For upcoming shows or more info on Venkman’s, visit venkmans.com.

FlyCon 2017: Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Last week, Ticketfly and close to 500 of our closest friends met up to spend a few days together in New Orleans at FlyCon. It’s an annual tradition we started six years back as an opportunity to connect with the extended ‘fly fam, share platform developments and announce new products, swap best practices on topics like digital marketing and analytics, answer questions, and learn about the business challenges our partners face.

Each year, we challenge ourselves to bring more to the table so that everyone that attends FlyCon feels it was worth the time and energy it took for them to be there. We kicked things off the evening of Monday, January 16 with a gathering for attendees and Ticketfly staff to reconnect and meet in person—maybe for the first time—while enjoying craft cocktails, bowling, bocce, and delicious local bites

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We got down to business the next morning at the Intercontinental New Orleans, with Ticketfly co-founder and CEO Andrew Dreskin welcoming everyone to FlyCon. He took us through a look back at what Ticketfly, Pandora, and our amazing partners accomplished in 2016, and touched on what we hope to accomplish in the new year.

Key team members outlined some of the new products and features clients can expect from Ticketfly in 2017, and we were able to pull back the curtain on an exciting new partnership with Lyte that provides fans with a safe, hassle-free way to exchange tickets for sold out shows and eliminates the pain points that come with the traditional secondary market.

Next up, we were treated to an in-depth look at how Ticketfly is connecting live events to the largest and most engaged audience of music fans in the US with Pandora. With 83+ million listeners, Pandora is the most used mobile app, more than Facebook and Netflix! Through our integration, Ticketfly is reaching listeners with personalized messages about upcoming shows based on their listening habits. We learned how many fans were reached in 2016 and got a sense of how we’ll continue to build on this success to make Pandora the go-to source for all music experiences.

After that, it was time to choose your own FlyCon. This year, we introduced four tracks: Amp Up Your Ticketfly explored how to maximize the value of our integration with Pandora with a focus on sponsorship and revenue. Marketing featured best practices on everything from data-crunching to creative campaigns, and gave clients 1:1 time with Ticketfly’s in-house marketing experts. Ticketfly Classroom track sessions went deep on our platform, giving FlyCon attendees their diplomas in things like reserved seating, fighting fraud, Ticketfly-powered websites, and reports. Finally, our Talent Buying track focused on understanding how data can de-risk booking decisions, and included a live demo of Pandora’s massive artist database, Next Big Sound, and a Q&A with its founder.

 

Of course we come to NOLA to learn….but we also gotta have some fun. Tuesday night we held a Bayou bash for the ages, starting with a second line parade that took FlyCon attendees through the streets of New Orleans, dancing drinks in-hand to a live brass band all the way to the Civic Theatre for a lively evening of casino games, a surprise performance by the 610 Stompers, strong—erm, delicious—sazeracs, and some stellar karaoke performances.

After an unforgettable night, we came back together for one last day, which began with a much-needed hearty hot breakfast and more track sessions. Before everyone hit the road, we were treated to an intimate fireside chat with the leaders of Paradigm: Tom Windish, Dan Weiner, and Lee Anderson, who had only announced their official combination a one agency a few days prior.

We had a full house for our track and mainstage sessions, but the FlyLounge was the hottest spot on the FlyCon block. Attendees flocked to the lounge to demo upcoming features and products (including Lyte and our new event entry iOS app), meet their reps, get their burning questions answered, and provide us with feedback.

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After the last track session concluded and the FlyLounge shut up shop it was time to bid everyone adieu. Attendees gathered in the lobby for a final drink or two, or three or…. well, nevermind. Almost as suddenly as it began, FlyCon 2017 was over. We came together from all over the U.S. and Canada to learn, laugh, karaoke, and affirm the human bonds that are the foundation of live events. Hard to believe we packed all that into just two days…

Sound like your kind of conference? FlyCon is an invitation-only event for Ticketfly partners. Learn more about working with us and join us next year!

Photos by Yrving Doveralba

SweetWater 420 Fest goes big with double headlining sets for ‘Lucky 13’

The number “13” carries a spooky superstition. But in the case of new partner SweetWater 420 Fest in Atlanta, 13 is a good omen, and a cause for a righteous celebration.

The three-day music experience, which doubles as an Earth Day festival (hence the 4/20), will hold its 13th annual event from April 21-23, 2017 at Centennial Olympic Park in the heart of downtown Atlanta. In honor of “Lucky 13,” organizers are pulling all the stops.

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Fly Fam: Welcoming Ticketfly’s new partners

While we may not be running for an elected office, Ticketfly never stops campaigning. With Pandora at our side, we’ve rallied strong support across the nation. We previously announced a record-breaking signing of 17 venues and promoters in the Southern U.S. and a partnership with Colorado’s Z2 Entertainment, making us the ticketing service of choice for independent venues and promoters in the Denver metro area. But they’re not the only ones joining the Ticketfly party. We’ve got more than a dozen new additions to the ‘fly fam that we’d love for you to meet.

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Memphis in May looks ahead to 2017

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2016 was a big year for Memphis in May International Festival. The monthlong civic celebration turned 40; upped the game with its Beale Street Music Festival with acts such as Neil Young, Beck, and Paul Simon; added new events—a 5K and a one-day local music showcase—to its already stacked programming; and, most importantly, had an estimated local economic impact of $88.1 million.

While he couldn’t reveal the specifics just yet, Jim Holt, president and CEO of Memphis in May, says 2017’s festivities will be even bigger (see the key dates below).

“We’re looking onward and upward,” Holt says. “Each year we endeavor to enhance our programs, activities, and events to increase the scope. We’ve got some surprises for people next year. We start breaking activities in December/January. We’re planning to increase the amount of elements at our events for next year. We’re very excited for [what] we’ve got in store for our customers.”

Holt’s team is just beginning to book talent for Beale Street, the largest and most notable event of the month. He wouldn’t drop any hints, but said he’s “very excited about some of the acts that are playing next year.”

Each year, Memphis in May partners with a different country for an extensive cultural program. For 2017, the festival has selected Colombia as its partner. “It’s a very exciting, dynamic, and vibrant country with a rich heritage and history,” Holt says. “It should be an exciting salute to them in 2017.”

Last year, Memphis in May held 38 different cultural, educational, and economic development programs for 2016 honoree Canada. Holt plans to have a similar number of activities in regards to Colombia.

One of the largest civic festivals in North America, Memphis in May instills pride in its city like no other. “We not only celebrate a foreign country each year, we also celebrate the history and heritage of Memphis itself, [a city] known for its rich musical heritage and tradition, “ Holt says. Guests should break out the bibs, too: “We’re also known as the barbecue capital of the world, which we highlight and salute during the World Championship Barbecue Contest,” he adds.

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Economically, the festival helps support a total of 1,100 full-time employment positions in Memphis, as well as attracts international visitors and media attention. “It’s a big driver on a lot of fronts for the city of Memphis,” Holt says.

Holt, who has worked for Memphis in May for 18 years, credits Ticketfly for aiding in the festival’s groundbreaking success in 2016—the first year we partnered with the company.

“We’d been with Ticketmaster for 25-plus years. We were looking for a more nimble, more marketing savvy ticketing company,” Holt says. “We thought Ticketfly had the superior platform among the various ticket providers we reviewed and we were very happy with the support we received.”

“To me, the Pandora tie-in was icing on the cake,” Holt adds. “It was a big element as far as providing expanded marketing exposure for our event.”

Holt says that the transition to Ticketfly, done in a 72-hour period, was seamless.

“To make that switch, we thought there would be a little turbulence and some bumpiness with consumer acceptance, and it was just astounding,” he says. “Tickets went on sale as if no change had ever occurred—just smooth as silk. I was very impressed with the seamless transition to Ticketfly. The marketing team and promotional assets that Ticketfly brought to us were very effective and potent.”

Find some key dates and activities below. We can’t wait to find out more about what Memphis in May has up its sleeve for 2017 and look forward to another fruitful year of partnership!

Dates:
Beale Street Music Festival: May 5-7
International Week: May 8-14
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest: May 17-20
901Fest: May 27
Great American River Run: May 28

For news and updates about Memphis and May, visit MemphisInMay.org.