Concert Tickets? Concert Wristbands!

Last night I got to see my favorite band play at the beautiful Fox Theater in Oakland, Ca. It had been a while since I’d been to a fairly big show. As I strolled down the street with my fellow concert goers toward the glowing marquee with a sense of happy anticipation, I knew I was in for a great time!

What pleasantly surprised me was the friendliness and efficiency of the theater staff, the easy and unobtrusive flow and management of the crowd.  After having my ticket scanned at the door, I presented my I.D., and a DuPont Tyvek wristband was quickly affixed to my wrist, clearly identifying me as “old enough to drink.”

The venue had an easy going vibe. Rather than fishing my identification from my wallet each time I wanted to buy a drink, I needed only flash my event wristband when I approached the theater bar. Around me other attendees enjoyed themselves regardless of their age. Behind the counter, the bartenders were relaxed, taking orders from guests after just a quick glance at their wrists.

As I sat back in the low lit bar, sipping my drink, casually conversing with friends while I waited for the opening act to begin, I looked down at the paper wristband I wore. I thought about how uncomplicated and stress free it had been to gain entry into the venue and how much a part of the experience of a show that can be.

The last concert I had been to was held at a much larger venue. Though the space was outfitted to handle big crowds, the staff was clearly inexperienced. Beyond the tickets we printed to get through the gate, there were no other direct attempts at crowd management, not even hand stamps or event wristbands for in and out privileges.

The lines were long and slow. After being patted down and having everything on my person rifled through, I felt stressed out.  I wasn’t even in sight of the stage yet!  And without drink wristbands to distinguish who could or couldn’t belly up to the bar, attendees were forced to dig through their purses and wallets to produce an id each time they wanted to purchase a drink.

Crowd control consisted of a few attendants forcing people to produce their tickets once again in order to get into certain restricted parts of the venue.

Sitting in my comfy chair, drink in hand, in Fox’s bar, I thought about how all of that could have been avoided if those event promoters had outfitted guests with colored wristbands that clearly identified where they belonged.

This experience was much different.  I knew the flow of attendees was being expertly managed, but I just felt like I was having a great time. The most artfully done crowd control allows you to feel like you’re not just part of a crowd. I took one last look at the custom wristband I wore, smiled, took another sip of my drink and waited to hear the first strains of the opening band to call me out onto the floor.