Ticket Boom – The Future of Festivals
by Sara Victor, Ticket Administrator
Over the years Shambhala has grown from a small, family-run festival to a huge year long project involving hundreds of people, planning and working together. During this time we have seen massive changes. In the musical world, with the explosion of electronic music genres like dubstep and drum and bass. Social networking has never been so popular. With sites like Facebook, YouTube and Soundcloud, and technology like the iPhone, people are sharing information faster than ever before. All of this has had a great effect on the growth of Shambhala, which advertises almost solely through social networking and relies on no corporate sponsorship. What used to be a small local gathering now is attracting people from around world, and Shambhala has truly become a creation of our generation; for five days each year, we come together to live in the reality that we wish to see in this world but cannot always experience every day.
This past year, after volunteering for Shambhala 2010, I was invited to play an important role in this family, to help with the administration of ticket sales. As any person who thinks about Shambhala, I started thinking about the connections, the synchronicity, and how it was a great and promising sign that tickets were going on sale on my birthday, October 22nd. This was also the first year that there was a whole position dedicated to just ticket sales, and it was thought originally that I wouldn’t be too busy until March or April of 2011, which is historically when ticket sales have been highest.
Boy, were we wrong.
All across Canada people watched in shock as the Extra Early Bird tickets sold out within one minute of going on sale. 1,000 tickets, boom, gone! While this was impressive and certainly no one expected it, it was pretty easy to believe considering that in the past year our facebook page has grown to have over 35,000 friends and people are talking on it constantly! Within the first 24 hours over 1,900 tickets sold, and it has not slowed down yet.
On January 15, early bird tickets sold out an astonishing four months ahead of schedule, marking the festival as 43% sold out. This has never happened so early in Shambhala history.
In this same week Burning Man tickets went on sale, selling over 27 000 tickets in the first 24 hours. At the end of January Coachella tickets went on sale, with all 75,000 general and VIP tickets gone in one week. These festivals are similar, in that they are also creating a reality where love, respect, happiness, music and dance are the main focus.
It’s exciting to see events doing so well. To me, it means that we, as a collective, are standing up and saying that experiences, not things, are important to us.
Now, more than ever, people all over the world are feeling the importance of these gatherings; coming together to celebrate the beauty of life through music and dance, seeking that feeling of connectedness, that moment when you lose yourself in the music, that intangible taste of absolute freedom. It’s a collective desire. We’re thinking about and preparing for these events that enrich our lives, all year round.
Our ticket sales reflect this, and so do all the wonderful comments that are left on our Facebook wall. Shambhala would not happen without you; it is a creation that we all participate in. And we thank you for all your contributions to making this event what it is!
So, given how quickly tickets have been selling this year, can we tell when they will sell out? Truthfully, we can’t. Our original estimates have been far exceeded, and we simply don’t have any comparable data as this has never happened to us before. Online sales are consistent, and our retail stores are selling more tickets this year than before too, so I suspect that sales will stay steady. Yesterday, February 3rd, marked halfway to Shambhala – and we’re close to halfway sold out (5126 tix left online)! The best advice I can give is to keep a watch on the our website and the Facebook page, and get your ticket soon! One thing is for sure – we are definitely going to sell out this year!!