Event Planners: Never Cause Conflict in Your Customers


That’s a photo (nasty Treo 750 cameraphone!)  from the Switchfoot concert that Ashley and I went to on February the 21st. Switchfoot is a “crossover” band in that they’re started out in the CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) scene and later made a splash in the mainstream music scene. So while they undoubtedly have a large fan base in the secular market now, a good chunk of their long-term fans are of the Christian variety. I first heard of Switchfoot a few years ago when someone I knew was doing a video project and used the song “Dare You To Move“. It’s a fantastic song with great lyrics and a killer hook. When I heard Switchfoot was coming to Calgary, I definitely wanted to go see them, so I bought some tickets (remember the Ticketmaster rant?).

A couple of weeks after I bought the Switchfoot tickets, I heard that one of my favourite bands of all time, Jars of Clay, was also coming to town – and that they were playing at MacEwan Hall at the University of Calgary, the same location as Switchfoot. My first thought was that they were playing the same show, because it made sense: two CCM bands, albet one more mainstream than the other. The curious part was that the show time was 30 minutes apart, and each band was selling separate tickets. I called Ticketmaster to try and get some details, and they couldn’t figure it out either how two bands could be listed at the same location at nearly the same time, but have two separately ticketed events.

I went to the show that night honestly not sure if I was going to see one band or two. When we got there it became clear: Switchfoot was playing in the bigger ballroom at MacEwan Hall, and Jars of Clay was playing a smaller venue within the same building.  So here I was, a fan of both bands, unable to see both concerts because they were happening at the same time. I quite honestly would have paid another $71.90 (two tickets) to see Jars of Clay later that night. Instead I felt conflicted that I had two non-refundable tickets to see Switchfoot, and couldn’t go see Jars of Clay without tossing out the $71.90 I’d alreay paid for the tickets and paying that much again to see Jars of Clay. In retrospect I wish I would have seen Jars of Clay – it would have been worth eating the $71 cost to me.

Why would the event planners make a decision like that, pitting two similar bands, with similar fan bases, against each other? They sacrificed what could have been a golden opportunity to earn more money by creating a mini-festival and charging more for the tickets. Someone wasn’t thinking like a marketing person should.