TENNESSEE CAVERN HOME: Pretty Lights’ Soundship Spacesystem Tour, a three day festival took place in Pelham, Tennessee. (Courtesy venue)

Caverns stop generates $1.4M in gross ticket sales

As music venues and artists grapple with how to ensure that coveted concert tickets end up in the hands of loyal consumers and devoted fans, independent venues like The Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee, are forging partnerships with ticketing and tech firms that are generating income and positive results.

Recently The Caverns partnered with festival producer Pretty Lights, ticketing company Tixr and artist services platform Seated for Pretty Lights’ Soundship Spacesystem Tour, a three day festival, Nov. 3-5 at the rural complex, which includes a 5,500-capacity amphitheater and a subterranean concert hall that can accommodate 1,200.

The Caverns was the only stop among the 10 venues on the Pretty Lights tour that used this particular system.

In Tennessee, officials created an integrated onsale and communications strategy to thwart bots and resellers. With huge demand, the event sold out in minutes, moving 11,000 tickets and add-ons for Pretty Lights at The Caverns. About two months before the event, gross receipts were $1.4 million.

SPECIAL SETTING: There is no other venue quite like The Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee. (Pretty Lights Soundship Spacesystem)

“In today’s digital environment, fans are often being outcompeted by bots and scalpers causing chaotic onsales,” said Grace Winton, ticketing and box office manager at The Caverns. “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.”

When the tour was announced in April, 30,000 fans that waited five years since the artist’s last tour signed up with Seated for The Caverns, the name of the new system. Everyone who registered via Seated received a unique access code by email and text message 20 to 60 minutes before the primary onsale on Tixr. Access codes unlocked up to four tickets per order.

After inventory was exhausted, Tixr’s built-in waitlist triggered, allowing fans to pre-authorize their credit cards should additional tickets become available. With the waitlist active, bots were unable to hold tickets and deplete inventory, keeping fans off the resale market and destroying scalper risk profile.

The evening of the onsale July 28, Tixr’s bot defenses ran another analysis, scrubbing orders to identify and refund tickets purchased by known bots and resellers. Tixr’s waitlist automatically assigned reclaimed inventory denied to bots and resellers back to fans who preauthorized their cards.

Tixr confirmed orders, however, scannable tickets will not be issued until 48 hours before the events and at the shows, the name on the ticket must match a valid ID.

“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, vice president of venue partnerships for Tixr. “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.”

During the camp-friendly festival, Pretty Lights will perform three nights above ground at The Caverns Amphitheater with visual collaborations by Anti-Alias and The Lazershark plus special guest Glass Crane and Psybernautics.

The event will include late night performances inside The Caverns cave venue by Manic Focus, Michal Menert, Maddy O’Neal, Break Science, Marvel Years, Chris Karns, Eliot Lipp, Motifv and Thought Process.

Additional sets will take place above ground at the amphitheater, featuring AS Eliptek, Mossy Projects, Mantra Sounds, Zen Selekta, Nelli, Mikey Thunder and Mux Mool.

“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,” said Jeff Meltesen, marketing director for The Caverns. “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.”