Performer Guest Lists are always a nightmare, particularly if you’re collating names for the door/gate. We have to admit that previously we weren’t handling these at all well and, frankly, this part of the system was well overdue an overhaul.
Up until now, what was happening was that the performer/their management would email a list to the festival team, who’d then type each name individually into the system, set what ticket-type they’d receive (if required) and then move onto the next one. Painful.
So, we’ve built an external form that uses the artist’s unique id and, through the power of the Messenger system, the team can instantly identify who hasn’t completed their Guest List allocation and send them the details to do so. Here’s a screen grab of the Messenger in action
The next item on our list of “stuff to complete” has been a Delegate module, to enable those of our clients who are doing conference content to manage the people attending them. The brief was fairly complex; the system had to cope with both paid delegates and those getting in free, it had to seamlessly integrate with the delegate ticket purchasing, it had to be able to send out a block of invites to a single recipient who could then pass them out to others, and all these names and details had to be managed, communicated with and, ultimately, appear in a searchable Delegate Directory.
Oh, and security is paramount, with checks required for both paid and invited Delegates, systems in place to make sure that the right people were accessing the right content and yet still maintaining the ability for the system users to control, change and edit how the system works and what content it was gathering.
We’d like to think that what we’ve done is elegant, straightforward and, hopefully, reduces a very complex process into easily understood steps. It’s already in use and, although there’s still a few loose ends to tidy up, we’re pretty happy with how it’s turned out.
Again, we’ve got a fully working model that we can show you around. Please get in touch over here; we’d love to hear from you.
Well, we’ve been going on about the changes that we’ve done to the Press Module to enable greater flexibility in what the system can send via the XML feeds to our client’s public websites, so we’re really pleased to be able to announce the launch of The Great Escape’s new website, powered by WordPress and the Festival Management System.
All the news items and other general content comes from the WordPress CMS, the rest is all us.
Huge props to the teams at Grafik Media and Media Junction who’ve done such a sterling job with the integration.
Another small improvement or, at least, it is small in that it’s not a big new shiny module for dealing with stuff. However, we’d like to think that it’s a fairly significant upgrade when it comes time to actually using the system. Our form builder is used throughout the site and it lets you create all the forms for production, volunteers, delegates, and more. What we’ve done is added a wider range of response types and allowed you to include headings and text so that you can have more control over what you are saying, the information that you’re gathering and how you are presenting it.
Simple, quick and painless. Just how we like it.
The Artist module is great*; book a band, send them a contract, set their performance details, sort out their production requirements… It’s all simple and straightforward. However the entire system structure is built upon the premise that there’s one performer on one stage/venue at one time. One contract, one set of production requirements.
However, what happens when you want to book multiple people into a single time/space, such as for a panel discussion or a workshop. When we were approached at the end of last year by one of our lovely clients, The Great Escape, who run a conference during the day and a festival at night (for you American readers, think SXSW), we knew that the existing Artist module wouldn’t cut it, and we were loathe to completely rebuild what was a tried and tested (and bug free) system.
So we’ve finally launched the new Conference module: multiple performers/presenters/people in the same time slot; separate contracts and financial details for all; separate contact information; messaging and reports systems; and it’s very own Scheduler with our clever drag-and-drop scheduling functionality.
And, as with everything else that we do, we’ve made it so that you can configure the system in the way that you want. If you don’t want it, hide it. If you do, great, it comes as a standard part of the package so there’s no additional costs.
And, if all you really want is the conference system, then that’s possible too.
Get in touch if you’d like to be shown around. You can find our contact details over here.
* in our opinion, of course
Gathering the information you require for your festival should be a fairly straight-forward process, providing that we’ve thought of everything that you want to do. One of the things that we feel makes us special is our understanding of what to do with that information, how to use it to best save you time and stress. We also understand that your event will be subtly different from all the others. We believe that the system should work for you, rather than the other way around, and we felt that the addition of our Bespoke Tasks was a big step towards giving you greater flexibility over how the system works. Today we’ve completed another step, in that you’re now able to add your own fields into the fabric of the system.
This is now possible through our Additional Fields functionality, which provide you with the ability to add, edit and manage as many extra elements as you require, simply and quickly. There’s the option to include these fields in the xml feeds* to drive your public website, enabling you to use the system as a complete CMS for your artist/stage and performance content.
You might have a multi-lingual site and need the biogs in both English and Spanish. You might want an ordering system so that you can rank your performers in order of importance. You might have a host of additional demands; content areas that require management, or specific elements that are unique to your event. All this, and more, is now possible.
* the system can provide machine-readable feeds of the latest artist/stage/performance information that can be used directly in the festival’s website, iphone app, etc. See this post for more details.
You know those times when you’re having an awful lot of fun, but you’re not supposed to be enjoying yourself quite as much as you are? Well, I’ve just returned from a month in New Zealand, driving around the countryside, lying in the sun, sailing, fishing, drinking great wine and visiting some NZ festivals. Swapping the middle of the British winter for mid-summer in a truly beautiful country is something I can heartily recommend… and the reason for the guilt? Well, it just so happened that the rest of my family were unable to go, left behind in one of the worst winters for a long time. I missed them terribly… mostly.
I did manage, however, to get some development work done, met some clients and trundled off to a festival or two. The image above is taken from Le De Da which was surprisingly good for the first event the promoters had done at this level. The photo captures, for me, one of the best moments of the weekend; when the local firetruck turned up with a massive water trailer and proceeded to cool down the revelers in the 38° C /100° F heat. They’re a good bunch to party with down there, and I hope that not only there’s a next time, but I’ve the family in tow too.
We’re really happy to announce the release of the new Scheduler, which adds a huge list of both clever and necessary stuff to help you program your festival. We’ve reworked everything from the ground up after a lot of discussions with our users, particularly those who have to manage a lot* of stages.
Some of the things we’ve added you’d never notice… unless they weren’t there. For instance, when you save something it remembers what you were looking at and returns you back to that exact position. Invisible functionality, but essential.
Other additions are more obvious. There is now integrated control of performance fees; you can delete performances and artists; there are new programming budgets with day/stage breakdowns; and we’ve added the ability for guides to be inserted into the schedule for programmers to book to a predefined structure.
If you haven’t already, take a look at the video above, then get in touch to have a look for yourself.
Oh, please note: the currency in the demo video is set to Pound Sterling. The festival system will, of course, handle any currency.
* more than 35
There is a fine line between providing enough functionality to be useful, and adding so much that whatever you’re working on becomes unwieldy and difficult to use. So when one of our festivals asked for some “project management” to be added, we had to really work to produce something simple. There’s a million different project management solutions out there already and we’re not looking to make anything different or special. In fact, calling it “project management” software is kind of stretching the truth, when what we’ve actually built is a To-do system (we can’t call it tasks because of our new, and quite different, Bespoke Task system).
The To-do system is a simple checklist with a few added features. Instantly accessible from anywhere within the site, it’s for when you spot something that needs work but you don’t have the time to sort it now, or to write those things that might get overlooked if they’re not written down. It can:
- set due dates and priorities
- set the task for multiple people, automatically send them emails about the task and send you an email when it’s complete
- set reminder emails to go out at specified times
- write and send notes between users for specific tasks
It doesn’t do time-lines, resource allocation or gantt charts; for this sort of functionality you’ll need a big project management program (to work in conjunction with the festival system, naturally!). What we do provide is the means to remember stuff, to send small jobs to other team members and to collaborate on bigger jobs, all with the intention of keeping you on top of your event.
There’s a video below showing you the To-do system in action. I’m afraid that there’s no explanatory dialogue to go with it, it’s late and we need to get started with the next bit of development tomorrow. But it should show you enough so that you too can see how useful it will become…
It doesn’t really matter how sophisticated the system gets, we know that we will never be able to cater for every demand from every festival. We can, however, design our software with the flexibility to deal with most requirements. The addition of our Bespoke Tasks functionality will make most demands possible.
Bespoke Tasks are user-defined functions that we can embed into the framework of the system, track their progress and, ultimately, make the system fit your way of working. For instance, you may want to check that each performer has provided a MySpace link. Creating the task, selecting which part of the site it appears and then ensuring that no performer is overlooked is a straightforward and painless process.
You can see how it works by watching this quick video:
The addition of Bespoke Tasks provides a more comprehensive working environment and, in conjunction with our new To-do function, we can now offer greater flexibility and better tracking of what needs to be done.