Finding Stability In An Unstable World
With the music festival world in a permanent state of touch-and-go ever since the initial Covid-19 shutdown in the spring of 2020, the challenges of in-person gatherings have been amplified. Festival directors are searching for confidence as they refine their advance processes and are in desperate need to save time and money on back-of-house operations. One sure fire way to gain that peace of mind and prime yourself for profitable success amidst the uncertainty? A centralized database.
With all of the moving parts that go into building a music festival from the ground up, it's absolute madness to try and advance it all with google docs, spreadsheets, emails, text messages, and whatever analog tools you've had to rely on in the past. The result of piecing together a system like that is miscommunication, over-spend, asset shortages, lost revenue, unhappy festival owners...and crazy amounts of stress.
Why would you subject yourself to such pain and suffering?
Thankfully festival operators are coming around to the realization that the old way of doing things is dead. That's why Made Events partnered with Lennd this year to on-board and manage their credentials, assets, and catering for the biggest EDM festival in the world, Electric Zoo 2021.
Big events = bigger challenges
Big complex events face even bigger, more complex challenges. Electric Zoo is huge, with 85,000 in attendance over the 3-day event on Randall's Island in New York City. So managing the unique challenges they faced required having a digital home for all of their data, people, requests, and reporting.
We're always dying to know what it's like for event operators behind the scenes at such iconic festivals like E-Zoo. That's why it was such a treat to sit down with Chase Wilkes, Credentials Manager and all around bad-ass, so we could pick his brain about his experience this year at the event.
We wanted to know what it was like to be the gatekeeper to one of the biggest EDM gatherings in the world, and Chase graciously walked us through:
- Building out the database
- Creating and distributing credentials
- Handling late-adds and other issues that inevitably crop up with such high-profile events
Chase took us on a deep dive into the impact he sees first hand on events using a centralized database for credential management.
Chase & the small but mighty credentials crew at Electric Zoo 2021
A Back-of-house VIP Pass
First off, how did it go at E-Zoo?
"E-Zoo 2021 was awesome. I know this festival really well, and I know the people involved really well. My role was as Credentials Manager and the credentials process this year was incredibly smooth."
Can you walk us through your credentials process for E-Zoo this year?
"So basically I start by mapping out access points, gathering key contact info, determine needs by department and build it out in the Lennd portal. From there I process requests and start building out credential packets, assigning wristbands, and distributing those to department heads. In a nutshell, I'm a facilitator that gets people access to where they need to be and gets them what they need to do their jobs on site.
As we got within a few days of the show, I processed any late adds that came through. This year there was a bit more of that since the final confirmation on the festival going down when it did was up in the air due to all of the COVID stuff."
Backstage at Electric Zoo 2021
Were there any significant challenges you faced at this year's event?
"To be honest with you, apart from the late adds, I really didn't deal with too much drama. I definitely attribute that to having a centralized place in Lennd for all of the advance to go through. When people reached out to say they had requested something, I was able to confirm if they had or not by looking in the platform. Sometimes in my role you deal with these discrepancies, and you want to be sure you did your part.
Having this database in place makes it so I can confidently stand my ground and know what I'm telling them is factual. In the past that has been a problem when we're, like, sifting through emails and texts trying to figure out if we screwed up their request. This year it was super easy to make sure everyone was on the exact same page. It makes it way less stressful when you're in charge of incredibly important stuff like credentials or assets at a major festival."
Do you think that savings from using this system are measurable?
"For sure. I mean, it's always been challenging on the festivals I've worked to actually track costs and really avoid over-spend on certain things. There are definitely times when I know we weren't able to track that stuff, so who knows how much we could have saved on in the end.
Most finance departments on a festival would love to see where all of the money is going in back-of-house operations. So having a crystal clear picture of credentials, assets, and catering by department with exact numbers is a game-changer. When you have 80,000 people coming through your show, you need one source of truth for sure. I'll die by that statement (laughs). As for time, that number is hard to quantify, but I know it's huge.
Using Lennd made my life way easier, and I was way less stressed. From building out the advance, communicating with departments, managing credentials and requests, and from the reporting side of things we're talking days worth of time saved. The biggest advantage I see in that regard is year over year too. With the big festivals I work, being able to login to last year's event in Lennd and simply make updates rather than completely build it all over again from scratch makes it a no brainer. It means next year will be so much easier and we have all of the previous year's insight neatly collected right in one place."
Industry/Artist/Guest Entrance at Electric Zoo 2021
Embracing the future of festivals
Talking with Chase it was pretty clear that he was a fan of using the platform. But he acknowledged that there are festival directors out there who may be a bit hesitant to try and reinvent their workflows by embracing the Lennd platform.
"There is no doubt a bit of a learning curve when you get started, and there is the initial time spent on building out your advance in the software. But once you're set up you're good to go, like forever (laughs). I mean, what is the alternative? I've been on the analog side and it's chaotic and stressful, I couldn't imagine going back." - Chase Wilkes, Credential Manager, Electric Zoo 2021
Work smarter not harder with Lennd
Doing things the old school way may give us a sense of pride from time to time. We work in an industry that is founded on tough tasks and overcoming impossible challenges. We build entire fully-functioning cities in a matter of days across deserts and open fields for hundreds of thousands of people to flock to so they can experience moments they will remember for the rest of their lives.
That's some herculean level of hard work! But making it more difficult than it already is? That's just silly. Why shouldn't you enjoy your part in creating the experience?
So if you're ready to save time, money, and your sanity...Lennd has got your back(of house). The key to your next festival advance going buttery smooth lies within Lennd's portal power and our team of experts is ready to show you what you've been missing with a free demo.
Keith: We did an NPS and considering this was the first event we we got an NPS of 8.3 which was was pretty good. I would I would have liked to have been a bit higher than that...but I think part of it was this is a new event for a quite a few people. So feedback was people wanted to ride the same course, they wanted to ride the exactly the same course. We did have these people that were coming in very technical and other that were there for fun. right but we add some really serious people so the serious people wanted everything like a rulebook we had no rulebook so maybe we could have done a better job sort of catering to those different grou
Lennd is a technology company that builds infrastructure to help bring events of every size to life. From small music festivals to major conferences, sports gatherings and everything in between—event leaders across the globe trust our software to manage their events and provide their people with one streamlined experience.
To learn why some of the most respected event teams trust Lennd to power their operations and learn more about our virtual event tools sign up for a demo: www.lennd.com.