Mayoral aide Joel Plant discusses the ongoing Halloween planning as downtown alder Mike Verveer listens at the Thursday evening meeting of the Madison Downtown Coordinating Committee.
"As soon as somebody purchases a ticket online, we immediately have access to them," said Joel Plant, a staffer for Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. He spoke at the Thursday night meeting of the city's Downtown Coordinating Committee, where one of the primary items on the agenda is Freakfest 2007, the Halloween party in the works for State Street on Saturday, October 27.
Plant, along with MPD Central District Captain Mary Schauf and Frank Productions representative David Maynard, discussed the ongoing planning for the event to the assembly of downtown stakeholders. Most of the information they shared reiterates that outlined in a Board of Estimates meeting earlier this month, but there were a few more details forthcoming.
Tickets for this year's Freakfest -- its sophomore year as a gated admissions event but first co-organized by a private promoter -- will be sold online via Ticketmaster. This major change wasn't an easy decision for the city and Frank Productions, given the former's ongoing campaign to rebrand the event as locally-focused in an effort to discourage attendance by the proverbially raucous out-of-state student contingent. They decided to go for it, though, in order to utilize the online sales for direct marketing, emailing ticket-holders in advance of the party to communicate and reinforce event rules, details, and so on. "We can immediately start sending messages to them via email," noted Plant.
Frank Productions is also working on securing brick-and-mortar locations for ticket sales on State Street, which will be marked with posters for the party. One location that's already set is the University Book Store, with more on the way.
As was the case last year, the capacity for Freakfest is set at 50,000, which is the maximum number of tickets that will be available. Tickets will go on sale online, at Ticketmaster locations, and at participating State Street retailers on Friday, October 5.They will once again cost $5 in advance, with the price increasing to $7 on the day of the event.
The primary issue that remains, ticket-wise, is access for State Street residents and businesses, which will once again be free. Plant explained that the city is working with the Madison Central Business Improvement District to set up distribution for this. "We should have it set within a week or two," he said.
Capt. Schauf stated that most of the policing planning is adapted from last year's, with the fencing plan set and the traffic plan nearly finalized. "The basic premise is the same," she says, "we're just looking at ways to get the most out of our resources due to the high security costs." Two elements she identifies as particularly effective are mounted police ("our big four-legged ambassadors") and the mobile squads policing house parties.
Maynard touched on a few more details about the planning, including the locations for the stages (the Capitol, the Buckeye Lot, and Peace Park), vending (Carroll and Johnson streets along with Concrete Park), and sponsors (the regional Pepsi bottler and new addition Milio's).
Frank Productions is planning more participatory activities for the Peace Park stage, including a costume contest, exclusively local bands, and other things incorporating audience participation. He did not reveal much about the entertainment they're booking for the party, though. "There are some national acts that we've signed to be a part of the event," he said, but they will not be announced until the first week of October.