If you’ve heard of the music festivals Country Thunder, The Voodoo Experience, Cavendish Beach, and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, among others, Gingerbread Shed’s technology is most likely behind the scenes. Gingerbread Shed, a winner for one of the six $250,000 Arizona Innovation Challenge grants awards for Spring 2013, concentrates on music festival ticketing, digital marketing and management throughout the US and Canada. Using their three specialized systems—Elevate for ticketing, Tradition for marketing, and Pulse for access management—Gingerbread Shed was designed exclusively for the music festival scene. The management extends from the planning stages of the festival all the way through and to the tail end of the event. I spoke with CEO and Founder Jason Kimball who has been “fighting for his right to party” since his first introduction to live music.
What is Gingerbread Shed?
Gingerbread Shed is a technology company based in Tempe. We specialize in ticketing, digital marketing and access management for some of North America’s largest music festivals.
How did you start?
I founded ‘The Shed’ with Todd Kingham in 2007. I had a longtime personal relationship with the founder of Country Thunder (held in Florence, AZ). When he told me “there’s not a ticketing solution out there that meets the needs of a festival promoter,” the light bulb went off and I contacted the most visionary tech guru I knew, Todd.
How did you get funding?
Initially, the company was self-funded. After ironing out the technology, building client relations, and signing on more festivals, we took on $250,000 of capital and expanded from two employees to 22 today. It’s been break-even or profitable since 2010.
What makes Gingerbread Shed different from other services?
The Shed is unique as we focus on music festivals. Festivals are a special breed—they can happen in farm fields or on city streets. They happen rain, snow or shine. They happen once per year; if this year is a bust, the event may not happen again next year. Unlike competitors, who try to serve all segments of events, from sports, to venues, to plays, The Shed is laser-focused on its niche providing more understanding and more value to a music festival’s sales-revenue cycle and to the promoters who run these events. We’ve got three [advantages over our competition], word-of-mouth, our advisors, and our people. A majority of our clients have come after the referrals of existing clients, or referrals from its advisor group. Perhaps the strongest indication of our success is that we’ve never lost a festival client to a competitor. Our people make that happen. [They are] passionate, driven to perfection, genuine, and intellectually curious. I am delighted and amazed with what we all do every day.
How did you conceptualize the three software systems (Elevate, Tradition, and Pulse)?
After six plus years of refinement, Gingerbread Shed’s flagship system, Elevate®, is recognized as the best ticketing platform in the industry for music festivals. Client requests in 2011 led The Shed to become the online ad agency for many of its festivals with its digital brand management services, which executes social media, online advertising, web design/development, and brand identity creation. In November 2013, we will be launching Pulse™, an RFID (Radio-frequency identification) access control system 100 percent integrated, at Voodoo Festival in New Orleans. All of The Shed’s technology is proprietary and built “in house” – literally.
Can you talk about the “festival life-cycle” a bit?
We aim to understand the festival life cycle better than anyone. It’s totally unique, and Elevate® is the only platform designed for it, with over forty different special features that make a festival promoter’s life easy, and help him drive higher levels of sales earlier. Because festivals are all we do, we can put our learnings, and the best practices we see, directly into our system. That’s why our clients themselves actually round out this amazing team. We’re all in this together.
What’s the most memorable festival you’ve worked on?
That’s a tough one. Rock the Hill Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia, comes to mind. Metallica was the headliner. It had been raining the entire day. The venue and the fans were soaking wet. Literally, upon the first note played of their set, the skies opened up and the most beautiful sunset appeared from beyond the “hill” of the grounds. Not a drop of rain followed. The set was epic… I believe even they were inspired with the circumstances that evening. That was pretty cool.
What is next for The Shed?
With the grant money [from the Arizona Innovation Challenge], we expect to hire additional tech employees in Tempe. It all happened [there]. I’m so enthused about this place, the good vibes in our office, and so appreciative for our clients and our people. Making this happen in Tempe, is the icing on the cake.
To learn more about Gingerbread Shed click here.
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