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The Music Festival Ticketing Backend Process

Andy Robertson

The sales process for music festival tickets has changed significantly over the last few decades. The days of cash sales through box office agents, record stores and promotors using cash, cards or cheques in exchange for a paper ticket are history. All tickets sales are now made online using a variety of payment gateways and dedicated ticketing platforms. 

The advancement on technological capability for electronic transactions has spawned a new industry of innovative software companies that help to make transactions fast and secure. How do these systems work and what are the processes involved in operating successful music festival ticketing in the modern era. 

Ticketing Platforms. 
The most well-known platforms come from companies like Ticketmaster but there is a plethora of similar platforms to choose from. The key differentiators are the commissions payable on each ticket sale and the support available so organisers will need to conduct research into which platform suits their needs best. A good platform enables comprehensive configuration for event ticket sales including ticket types, variable pricing, relevant dates, volume limits along with custom promotional discounts for example. Access to the front-end ticketing platform enables organisers to monitor the number and type of tickets sold in real time, necessary changes can be made to maximise revenue. 

Payment Processing. 
In addition to dedicated ticketing platforms there are also a wide variety of payment gateways to consider, each with different levels of commission costs and support. Many are linked to specific ticketing platforms, but some can be used as a standalone system if the organisers have the required technical capabilities. Payment gateways are incredibly secure payment methods and enable ticket buyers to quickly make payment using a variety of online payment methods. There is a regulatory requirement for payment gateways to manage funds received through complex banking clearing systems which accounts for erroneous numbers or refunds for example. This means that organisers typically receive ticket revenue about a week after the sale has been made. 

Distribution and Ticket Issuing. 
Once a successful payment has been made for a ticket a unique alphanumeric ticket reference is generated for each one. This can be forwarded by email or SMS in a digital format to the ticket buyer and may consist of a bar code, QR code or reference number, occasionally in an attached PDF document. Ticket buyers can choose to either print hard copies off or retain them on their mobile device. 

Onsite Validation and Support. 
To prevent fraud, it is essential that organisers have robust systems set up on-site to verify and validate issued tickets. Scanners are used at every gate entrance to a festival site and staff use these to scan ticket codes (bar codes or QR codes) presented by the festival-goer, most commonly by showing the code saved on their mobile device. Organisers should thoroughly check the scanning systems work well before opening to ensure a smooth entrance operation. A technical support operation can be situated at gate entrances to rectify any issues with scanners and code errors by having access to a database of issued tickets that indicates if a code has already been scanned for example. 

Data Analysis. 
Using a ticketing platform and payment gateway provides festival organisers with a huge amount of data that can be used for analysis and may include types of sales made by date and an assessment of any trends. The data can also indicate the source of the sales which can help for future planning and marketing activity. It may be possible to analyse festival-goer demographics and behaviour assuming that this data was collected. A financial reconciliation needs to be performed post event to ascertain the volume of errors and discrepancies if any.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics including comprehensive ticketing functionality. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering. 

Image by Tumisu via Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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