The on-playa Box Office works very closely with our compatriots who maintain the front gate and perimeter of Black Rock City. Once the orange fence is in place, the Gate crew is present to maintain the security of our city. The Box Office does not come into play until the opening day of the event. Once open it operates 24 hours a day until Saturday pre-burn to meet the ticketing needs of participants entering and leaving Black Rock City.
2005 was a milestone year for the Box Office and crew. We took the changes made in 2004 and further streamlined them and made a few new changes in management and staffing as well.
The small windows in the Box Office were replaced with larger, more friendly and easier to communicate through ones. This let in more natural light and allowed the box crew to interact more with participants picking up and buying tickets. The addition of a surrounding deck helped to keep dust down as well as give participants a boost closer to the windows to facilitate communications. Shelving was upgraded to something sturdier and more permanent, more lighting was added which the night shift greatly appreciated. We also added some lights and décor on the outside of the building to help create a more welcoming feel to those arriving at night.
The second year of the electronic box office system proved to be a great success. With one year under our belts we were able to work out kinks we experienced in 2004. With the addition of an on-playa system and technology support crew we were able to document any problems that did arise and deal with them in a timely manner – often real time. As with any system – there will always be new things to learn and implement in the future.
From a crew and management standpoint the Box Office has never been tighter. The assignment of managerial duties to an existing year-round staff member allowed for more work to be completed pre-playa operations began. Things like crew recruitment, the schedule, training manuals, and cross department communications with our friends at the Gate were done well in advance of playa operations. This allowed the crew to function in a smooth and effective way in taking care of participants and staff needs. For the first time, in 2005 we were able to hold 2 different training sessions for the box office crew so they could become familiar with the technology and equipment they would be using on the playa. These trainings paid off with the majority of the crew having attended and having a much better understanding of how things work – which led to significantly fewer problems with ticketing on the playa.
Many of the crew have been working together for several years now. Having things set up and running smoothly in advance allowed everyone to work hard and still play, laugh and enjoy each other as a team more than in previous years. The creation of a shaded area for the crew was a nice addition that helped facilitate off-duty team cohesion as well as a place to get to connect with our compatriots working at the Gate.
Overall 2005 was a smashing success for the Box Office. Like always, we know we have more improvements to make that will make the 2006 Box Office experience even better.