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The Safety Dance: Navigating Smaller, Safer Event Practices

Brown Paper Tickets presents the first in our series of Expert Articles, in which we’ll bring you tips and advice from professionals to help you make informed decisions on event safety.

As an attendee, what safety measures should you look for in an event right now? How can we make the best of the current situation? Is fun even still possible?

All these questions and more can be addressed through a lens of risk assessment and harm reduction. Fun can still be possible if we take proper precautions. Smaller, local, and outdoors are the name of the game at this juncture, and creative event organizers are rising to the challenge. How to find them and what to look for? Let’s let the experts speak.

Today, we bring you some words of experience from Mitchell Gomez, Executive Director of DanceSafe. Founded in 1998, DanceSafe is a non-profit organization dedicated to, as Mitchell puts it: “broad spectrum health education and harm reduction” within the live music community. DanceSafe actively advocates for event safety in the realms of drug testing, sexual health and consent, and basic yet crucial aspects like hearing protection, heat stroke, and even sun protection. “We give out literally hundreds of gallons of sunscreen every year!” says Mitchell. So naturally, we reached out to DanceSafe to get their take on the state of smaller events, and what a ticket buyer should look for.

“This [virus] is already changing the way that people analyze risk,” he noted. “I think people should be staying as local as possible. Booking local acts as opposed to bringing in larger touring acts is, I think, a really responsible thing.”

Ok, so you’ve got such a local event in mind. What kind of precautions should you look for before you attend? Mitchell tells us that “mandating masks, having a venue that is large enough” are key measures. Look for an organizer that “keeps ticket sales small enough that you can effectively socially distance within an event. Booking a venue that has a capacity of 1,000 and selling 200 tickets is financially difficult, but I think probably the most responsible way…to mitigate that risk. Let people have the room to spread out.”

Moving forward, he predicts “I would not at all be surprised to see temperature checks, contact-tracing apps on cell phones, and masks become fully integrated within the music community.” For most indoor activities, masks have already become the norm. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be a downer. “As somebody who’s really into post-apocalyptic punk fashion, I’m not that upset about it!” joked Mitchell. “The nice thing about the music community is that we’re great at turning anything into a fashion statement.” Get ready for that local, Ragnarok-themed rave!

Is it safer to abstain entirely? Yes, and many will. But as Mitchell observed, “The reality is that we all engage in harm reduction all the time. There’s ways to mitigate the risks. Sunscreen is a really good example, condoms is another one I think everyone can wrap their heads around.”

Together, we can adjust and adapt. And still support our local arts community in safer ways so they’ll be there on the other side of this. For all the hours of dance and other joys they’ve brought to our lives, it’s the least we can do.

You can find more info about DanceSafe on their website at:

Expert Advice >

Pricing Strategies for Online Events

pot of coins with a plant growing out of it

When venturing into the uncharted waters of virtual events, many new questions arise. Among these: How should I handle pricing? What kind of charges make the most sense with this new platform?

Fortunately, there are many options. And best of all, they can be mixed and matched to suit your needs, maximize your returns, and keep your audience interested in your events.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Conventional Ticket Sales

You know the drill. Set the price, sell the ticket, admit the ticketholder. But with virtual events, there are opportunities to get creative.

  • In addition to regular pre-sale prices, consider offering VIP tickets that grant an encore performance or Q&A session with the performer, an on-air shout out for a friend or business, or a custom-written song.
  • Even though the event is online, consider offering physical tickets to provide the purchaser with a souvenir and add to the feeling of a traditional event.

Brown Paper Tickets offers physical ticket fulfillment for ticket buyers as well as bulk ticket orders. Our customers get creative—we once ticketed an engagement!

Virtual Tip Jar

Anyone can access public social media pages to tune into a live streaming event, so pre-sales are often less of a focus. In addition to pre-sale, VIP, or other special pricing, your event page can include prices with names like “tips” or “contributions.” Allowing tips or contributions for free events can help your artists feel valued and your attendees feel part of a larger community.

  • Create multiple “tip” prices at various values, so viewers can choose how much to contribute.
  • Consider giving extra proceeds directly to your performer. Your attendees will feel they’re making a contribution in a direct and personal way.

Sliding Scale or Pay What You Like

In times of financial uncertainty, having a sliding scale or pay-what-you-like option may entice more buyers than a standard pricing structure. Buyers want to help their favorite events and artists, and with this welcoming option, you may end up with a larger turnout than you ever imagined. If you need to make sure you recoup enough funds to pay your overhead, set a minimum amount and allow buyers to pay more if they are able.


Your audience’s generosity may surprise you. People don’t want to lose their favorite theater or lose touch with their favorite performer. If your organization is a registered 501c3, adding a donation option can help ensure continued future events and keep you and your audience united in supporting the arts.

Once you pick a pricing structure, it’s time to list your event so you can start sales ASAP. Brown Paper Tickets’ flexible ticketing platform can support pricing models of every kind, from tips to tiers to anything you can think up. Learn more about how Brown Paper Tickets can support your online event.

Event Tips >

5 Fantastic Reasons to Offer Physical Tickets at Your Next Event

Ticket-stubs-Event-TicketingThere’s something special about a physical ticket. Holding one in your hand as you wait excitedly to see your favorite band…attending a show with it tucked safely in your pocket, putting the stub into a scrapbook, finding it years later and feeling that flood of oh-what-a-show nostalgia.

Physical tickets have a powerful effect, which is why we feature them as an option. If you’re an event organizer, physical tickets may sound like a throwback, but these classics can provide unique and surprising benefits for your events and your sales.



Here are five reasons to use physical tickets:

1. Speed and Security

Short on staff and need to get lots of people in the door quickly? Physical tickets, combined with barcode scanning via our mobile scanner app, will move your attendees to their seats fast. And from a security standpoint, our printed tickets are outfitted like currency with micro-printing, foil, and watermark.

So you can tell at a glance that you’re dealing with a genuine ticket.

2. Increased durability (badges and tickets)

Our hard-plastic badges are even more durable than our tickets. They can withstand a multi-day conference, a punishing roller derby bout, maybe even the jaws of a labradoodle.  Use them for a season pass, and your buyers won’t have to place multiple orders for numerous events. We can add lanyards, and even print attendees’ details like names, organizations, and more.

3. You can include Merch

Want to send a small item of merchandise along with your tickets like a CD or a T-shirt? Our Ad Insert Program can allow you to send merch directly to your guests with tickets. Also, you can send a flyer advertising your next show to your current attendees. Brilliant.

4. Souvenir factor

Give your buyers a built-in souvenir that will remind them of the amazing time they had at your event. They’re the perfect complement for post-show autographs.

Ben Haley, an event organizer, exclusively uses physical tickets for Salon of Shame – a Seattle-based gathering where people read from their embarrassing adolescent writing in front of a large audience.

It sells out nearly every time.

“I’m pretty old-school,” said Haley. “There’s just something satisfying about getting your ticket ripped and it’s like – blam! You’re in.”

5. They’re free

We’ve saved the best for last: when sent to your ticket buyers, physical tickets cost no more than print-at-home or will-call tickets. Neither you nor your guest will pay extra for this service. And if you need extra bulk tickets for your box office, they are only 10 cents per ticket, plus shipping.

So the next time you’re starting an event, consider all the ways that physical tickets can improve your sales, enhance your ticket buyers’ experience, and open up new opportunities. And those benefits are indeed timeless…

Event Tips >

One of the Best Marketing Tools that You’re Not Using

We get it. We understand your pain. You worked so hard to organize an amazing event, but no one told you how hard it would be to promote it. You’ve posted the event to Facebook, you tweeted, you posted flyers and then… crickets.

You may not realize it, but we have a one-of-a-kind solution. We send out thousands of physical tickets, all across the globe. And everywhere our tickets go, your message can go. This is an excellent tool to use to promote your event, business or nonprofit.

Imagine a music fan excitedly opening an envelope with the ticket she ordered. Inside, in addition to the eagerly anticipated ticket, she also receives a special message from you.

You can target a specific geography or event type – or both. However you choose to target, rest assured that your message will arrive to the door of a happy person. It’s like wrapping your ad in a present.

This is a more effective tactic than the majority of alternative advertising options. Digital advertising is costly, complicated to manage, and imprecise even with the most sophisticated targeting. In today’s world, people have limited attention spans, and given the volume of “noise” ads compete with, there’s a good chance your prospect won’t even see your message.

Not the case with ticket ad inserts.

Ticket ad inserts are one of the most powerful tools for event promotion because it is guaranteed that your target audience attends events.

Our Ad Insert Program doesn’t only help event promoters promote future events; it is an effective way to the spread awareness of anything. A freelance illustrator can get their name out there by sending prints to a whole city. A new small business can send a coupon to an entire zip code promising 20% off; a festival promoter can send a flyer to music fans in their state. The opportunities are endless.

Ways You Can Target Your Inserts:

  • zip codes
  • whole states
  • cities
  • event type
  • your event
  • or any combination

You don’t even need a Brown Paper Tickets account.

When we first launched the program, we sent out the below insert to announce it. But your inserts could be anything—your creativity is the limit.

Just print your ads, mail them to us, and we will insert them into the ticket orders you target. Heck, we can even bundle ticket orders in with a larger piece, such as a brochure or a greeting card.

Best of all, your content will be exclusive to the ticket orders you target. No sharing space with other advertisers like with those big packs of mailed coupons. And also unlike those coupon packs, no one is going to throw their ticket order into the garbage—the buyer is practically guaranteed to look at your ad. Not many marketing tools can boast that.

We’ll Help You

We’re happy to talk you through your campaign idea and recommend targeting options. We can also help you determine how many ads to print up for your specific needs and locations so you won’t waste money on printing costs.

We’ll be with you every step of the way to make your campaign a success. Let us help take your message everywhere our tickets go.

More info, pricing, and instructions.

Event Tips >