Theatre Forum Ireland #APAC14 wrap up

Last week we had the pleasure of attending the All Ireland Performing Arts Conference (#APAC14) at the beautiful Lime Tree Theatre, in Limerick (big thanks for hosting – amazing venue). Hosted by Theatre Forum Ireland and The Northern Ireland Theatre Association, APAC is a chance for the performing arts community across Ireland to network and discuss relevant issues facing the industry in Ireland.

The 2014 event held, in City of Culture Limerick, brought together over 54 organisations from across the island of Ireland.

From our perspective, it was great to catch up with customers such as Lyric Theatre, Dunamaise Arts Centre, An Grianan and Smock Alley – among others. And of course to meet folks from venues we haven’t spoken to before.

We hope everyone got inspired with some concrete take aways from the talks and workshops. We certainly enjoyed the two days – we even gave out a few hugs.

How to Run and Festival . . .And Not Lose Money

If you’ve been running festivals for a while, this article is probably not for you. If you are considering running a festival, definitely have a read of this. Not a guarantee of success by any means, but a place to get started.

Whether you are promoting local businesses or marketing your own, how do you make it work? Taking the leap into festivals . . .

Have a clear goal or fill a need

While it may seem obvious knowing exactly what you want to get out of your festival is job number one. Maybe it is a corporate event/festival like the Innocent smoothie’s village fetes. Maybe it is a regional writers festival or end of year music festival. Have a clear goal, and stick to it.

Location, location, location – but be realistic

Having your festival in the hinterlands may well be exactly what you need to do. But be sure there are services and infrastructure that you need before you settle on a location. For example, hard to reach places, with little or no parking would not be ideal for a family friendly event, but might be perfect for the 20-something crowds.

Get the right help and partnerships

Getting the right expertise where you need it is crucial. Can you run the festival yourself? Maybe. But getting the right help will ensure you don’t pull all your hair out in the process. Think of the elements you do need? Online ticketing capabilities, and onsite box office? Mobile scanning? Knowing where your strengths are (and where they are not) can help you decide on key partnerships.

Set realistic expectations

This is kind of tied into the one above. If you haven’t run a festival before (and hell even if you have), setting realistic expectations can be challenging. Getting great partners involved can help set realistic expectations, and help you to understand the workloads involved.

Planning and budgets

Probably a no brainer, but for festivals the devil is most certainly in the detail. Getting the planning and budgets rights is crucial, and that means setting realistic expectations on what your festival can and cannot produce.

Expect the unexpected

There is no way around it – even with the best planning, best team and best budget – s$%t happens. You have to be as prepared as you can to deal with it – and most importantly – be able to move on.

It’s a business – no matter your goal . . .

Running your event like a business (even if the festival is not for profit) will help keep your ticket sales solid. That said, if your ticket prices are off the charts, no amount of marketing will get your audience there. Be aware of what prices the market can bear.

. . .but it is really about people

Then again it is not entirely about the business side of festivals – it also about the people. Your target audience. Think about them and what they want first – and go from there.


Running a festival? Got all the basics covered, but need some ticketing for your festival or event? Contact us!


Don’t Have a Box-Office? Don’t Worry.

Not long ago, Fleishman Hillard approached us with a question. Could we create and manage a one-off box office for a client event. The event in question was the 2014, Cadbury Easter Egg Trail in Merrion Park, Dublin in aid of Barnardos.

The Brief

The brief was straightforward, working with Cadbury’s Ireland, Fleishman Hillard PR and Barnardos, provide a full service box office and manage it for this special Easter event.

What did we do?

That there was no established box-office did not matter, because Ticketsolve is cloud-based. We provided a reliable, full service ticketing box-office for the event. That meant, Ticketsolve provided full online ticketing, support and reporting.


Tickets were only sold online or via walk ups the day of the event. In addition all online tickets were print at home. Ticketsolve needed to design print at home tickets for the event, as well as create an online sales site using Cadbury’s UK design elements.

Go Live

Once we went live with the site, Ticketsolve ran the entire box-office and backend for the event. This included dealing with any customer queries or issues.


Cadbury’s Ireland, Fleishman Hillard PR and Barnardos were all interested in sales data. Ticketsolve allows for an unlimited number of users and can be accessed from anywhere, which meant, all three organisations were able to get up to the minute sales data on the event

On the Day of the Event

The event took place on the beautiful grounds of Merrion Square Park. As it was an outdoor event, Ticketsolve provided mobile scanning (from any mobile device) for ticket validation.

In the end 3,000 people attended the event with all ticket sales going directly to Barnardos.

Fleishman Hillard, Cadbury’s and Barnardos were thrilled with the event.

“Working with Ticketsolve was a pleasure. They ensured the ticketing of the event ran smoothly. Since the system is Internet-based, we had access to the sales information 24/7. Really made the management of the box-office easy. And their customer service in the lead up to the event and on the day itself, was second to none”

– Frank Phelan, Corporate Fundraising Executive, Barnardos, Ireland

Video clip from the event . . .

It was a brilliant event and a great cause – we are very proud to have participated in our own way!

Have an event or festival, but don’t have a box office? We can help – call us!

Want to Know How to Run a 10,000+ Attendee Event? (Hint: Get Ticketsolve)

The world recently celebrated New Year’s 2014. We here at Ticketsolve had a cracker of night working with 3NYE Countdown Concert (you can see the video of the event here).

For three years, Ticketsolve has worked with Davis Events – 3NYE Dublin – the main New Year’s event in Dublin- as the ticketing partner for online and onsite ticket sales for the Countdown Concert. Each year, NYE Dublin puts on a huge programme of events catering for all ages, culminating in a Countdown Concert for over 10,000 people featuring Irish and International acts eg The Strypes, MKS and Madness.

It was a massive undertaking, where Ticketsolve provided complete onsite box office sales and access control to the event through our latest innovation: mobile scanning.

An Epic Street Festival in Dublin

The festival Countdown Concert site covered approximately 2km, with three access points into the outdoor festival grounds. This meant, we needed to provide 3NYE with the ability to scan tickets from three locations simultaneously.

Event Controllers

Ticketsolve worked directly with Davis Events to understand exactly what they needed for online ticketing and onsite ticket sales and ticket scanning on the night. This ensured
smooth entry for event goers and fewer problems for the staff scanning tickets on the night.

Hand Held Scanners

Large outdoor events like this with multiple entry points, means hand held scanners were a must for tickets. Ticketsolve’s newest feature can be installed quickly onto any hand
held device, turning a smart phone into a scanner in minutes. Training the Ticketsolve 28 person team responsible for scanning tickets took about 20 minutes. Training included
how to deal with print at home tickets, hard printed tickets (issued from the onsite box office), as well as how to deal with ticket queries or issues. The scanning team were
spread across three access points and were outfitted with numbered event bibs.


Communication and Reporting

An event of this size must have good communication between those on the ground, and management. The advantage of Ticketsolve mobile scanning, is that all scanning data is
uploaded to the Ticketsolve system and centralised. This allows updated reports to be generated every 20/30 minutes. Ticketsolve’s reporting is fully integrated and provides 24/7 access to data as and when needed. A variety of reports can be generated from Ticketsolve, and can be segmented as needed.


Onsite Box Office

3NYE Dublin Countdown Concert like many others, have a large percent of “on the night” sales. An onsite box office was set up to deal with “on the night” sales.

Ticketsolve supplied eight trained people to operate the Ticketsolve box office system that operated on the night. These staff were responsible for all onsite ticket sales including mobile kiosk, chip n pin, quick sales, and cash.

From a technology point of view we needed to organise Wifi across the site for box office sales and mobile scanning. Contingencies were also set up in case of Wifi failure, which ensured that even if the Wifi went down, the box office could still make sales and the scanners would still be able to locally scan.

Paul Davis of 3NYE Dublin had this to say, “NYE Dublin is always a big event, but this year, it was going to be even bigger. Since we began working with Ticketsolve three years ago, they have never failed to deliver.

I knew Ticketsolve were the right choice. They have the know-how, innovation and understand what we need to do. Everything went smoothly on the night and the mobile scanning was flawless. We are looking forward to continue working with Ticketsolve.”

We hope you have recovered. We certainly have.

Need Ticketsolve innovation for your next big event? Give us a call, +353 1 4100647.