How Indie Venue The Caverns Got In-Demand Tickets for Pretty Lights to Real Fans

August 10, 2023

Without hiccups, a waiting room, or confusion for the fans, Pretty Lights’ 3-day camping festival sold out in minutes—thanks to an integrated on sale and communications strategy and rock solid ticketing technology.

When Pretty Lights announced that his first tour in five years, the 2023 Soundship Spacesystem Tour, would include stops at The Caverns, his devoted fans were more than ecstatic. They were elated. An hour outside of Nashville, Tennessee. The Caverns happens to be one of the most unique independent music venues in the world with a picturesque outdoor amphitheater and intimate subterranean stage, built inside a cave. While the rest of the tour went on sale shortly after the announcement, Pretty Lights and The Caverns held back one last big reveal: a 3-day camping festival with a stacked lineup.

The Caverns was the last hope for eager Pretty Lights fans after a five-year wait, but thwarting bots and predatory resellers would be no small feat with so much hype around the festival. To do right by the fans, The Caverns team crafted an integrated onsale and communications strategy in partnership with Tixr and the artist’s team. Backed by our rock solid ticketing technology, the plan worked!

“As an independent venue we have the ability and freedom to work with artist teams and our ticketing partner to think outside of the box and approach each on sale with a unique approach,” says The Caverns Ticketing & Box Office manager Grace Winton. “In today’s digital environment fans are often being outcompeted by bots and scalpers causing chaotic on sales. We are proud to be able to work creatively with our artists and partners to help get more tickets into the hands of real music fans.”

Here’s how we did it.

Access Codes FTW

When Pretty Lights announced his Spaceship Soundsystem tour in April, he ushered fans to Seated to sign up for access codes to participate in The Caverns’ future onsale through Tixr. Over 30,000 fans signed up and sat on pins and needles until July when the festival details finally unveiled.

Once the news was out, Pretty Lights gave fans one final chance to sign up for an access code for a chance at tickets. The Caverns outlined the ticket sales process and all planned precautions in detail, on its website and social media, at the same time. 20-60 minutes prior to the onsale, fans who signed up received a unique access code via email and text message, which could be used to unlock up to four tickets per order. Then, we were off to the races!

Using our new event page layout, The Caverns built Carousels to clearly and visually distinguish between 3-day and and single-day pass options. Both 3-day General Admission and 3-Day VIP purchases came with access to one late night in the cave—a huge perk for superfans. With passes in cart, guests could also choose from a variety of camping add-ons via Tixr, ranging from exclusive Yurts to spacious RV parking and select campgrounds.

Crush the Bots, Cast out the Resellers

If a fan missed out on their preferred pass type, our next precaution kicked in: our built-in Waitlist. Instead of a “sold out” or a “no tickets available” message, fans could join the Waitlist by pre-authorizing their credit card in case more tickets become available.

Turning on Waitlist not only gave fans a glimmer of hope, but also helped beat bots at their own game. With Waitlist enabled, bots couldn’t hold tickets and deny inventory to real fans, which helped to keep tickets off the immediate secondary market. Moreover, by not guaranteeing tickets, Waitlist destroyed scalper risk profile and showed The Caverns just how much unmet demand there really was!

Waitlist also gave our fraud defenses another chance to run a deeper analysis the day of the onsale in order to identify and refund tickets purchased by obvious bots, bad actors, and known resellers. Real fans who’d pre-authorized their cards to join the Waitlist got automatically assigned any reclaimed inventory from the scrub.

To further combat resale and fraud, The Caverns’ communicated that scannable tickets wouldn’t be delivered until 48 hours before the events. Until then, tickets would be transferable between Tixr accounts and only tickets received or transferred via Tixr could be guaranteed. As a final precaution, The Caverns’ instituted an ID requirement, where the name on the ticket must match the name of the ID, rendering bot and reseller ill-intentions useless.

“As one the country’s top ‘destination’ music venues, The Caverns understands fans’ passion for music-based travel and the stress of securing tickets when the demand heavily outweighs the supply. Fans don’t mind missing out to fans, but missing out to bots and scalpers is something we and our partners at Tixr work hard to mitigate,” says Jeff Meltesen, Marketing Director for The Caverns.

A Success Story to Remember

Thoughtfully curating and communicating an on-sale and checkout experience—with multiple layers of bot and resale deterrents—made an immeasurable impact on the fan experience. 3-days of Pretty Lights at The Caverns sold out in minutes with almost zero hiccups, no waiting room, and no confusion. Now The Caverns team not only has a playbook how to master the art of the checkout process, but most importantly, it also has the gratitude of their fans for going the extra mile.

“Our goal at Tixr is to make sure tickets get into the hands of real fans and that everyone buying has a positive experience. The Pretty Lights on sale was a fantastic success, thanks to The Caverns team’s willingness to think outside the box and activate our fan-friendly toolset to make it happen,” said Sara Mertz, Tixr VP of Venue Partnerships. “Unique access codes, waitlists, delayed ticket delivery, and fan-to-fan transfers — on top of the predictive algorithms and risk detectors built by our data scientists and payment processor — all packed a powerful punch to combat bots, fraud, and resellers.”

When demand outweighs supply, this was a perfect example of event creators sticking up for their fans and utilizing all the tools in their toolkit. We couldn’t be more proud to be The Caverns’ exclusive primary ticketing partner, and we’ll take every opportunity to shine a light on their world-class venue and their team members who do it all to deliver once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Want to learn more about what’s in the Tixr toolkit? Schedule a demo of our advanced ticketing innovations like Waitlist that are fundamentally changing how tickets get sold.