If you long to become a swingin’ cat who makes the rounds of local cultural events like outdoor concerts, book-club meetups, film festivals, and sake tastings, you should check out Eventbrite. The service boasts a robust event listing and the ability to purchase tickets. You won’t be able to use it to buy tickets for sporting events or high-profile shows, and you can’t create your own events directly from the mobile app. Still, Eventbrite is worth checking out, if you’re looking for cool smaller-scale happenings in your town.
Welcome to the Party, Pal
The web-based Eventbrite puts the most important thing, search, front and center. Like Songkick, Eventbrite’s homepage automatically detects your location based on your location and pre-fills the location search criteria; you simply key-in an event name or category. You can even filter your searches by date, if you’re specifically looking for a good time this upcoming weekend.
Beneath that search bar lives a large area that’s filled with upcoming events. If you haven’t created an account, you see a simple listing of activities and performances in your area. If you create an account, however, the app shows you events that match the topics of interest you selected when you signed up. For example, I selected the Cultural, Food & Drink, and Festival categories when I signed up, so my Eventbrite homepage is often filled with the likes of A Decadent Evening of Chocolate and Cocktails, Pop Up Dinner NYC, and New York Cocktail Expo. The bottom of the page displays trending topics, such as Networking and Sports & Wellness.
It’s important to understand what kind of bookings you can make with the service—and what kinds you can’t. Eventbrite specializes in smaller, cooler events, such as tastings, indie music performances, conventions, and readings. Ticketmaster, on the other hand, offers tickets for high-profile shows, such as The Book of Mormon and The Lion King. This is not the sort of thing you’ll find on Eventbrite. That said, Tribeca Film Festival uses Eventbrite to handle its ticketing, so I used the service to gain access to a Cobra Kai screening before the television show made its debut on YouTube Premium.
Selecting an event takes you to a page on which you can view the event venue, address, date, start and end times, and location (which you can view using an embedded Google Map, much as you can with Songkick). I also like that each event has tags that lead you to similar events when you click through. Unfortunately, you can’t track recurring events, such as the NYC Craft Beer Festival, to receive alerts for an impending show. This kind of tracking is an area in which Songkick truly excels.
Saving and Purchasing Tickets
You can save events by clicking the bookmark icon located just beneath the listing’s main image. Alternately, you can buy tickets by clicking the large green Tickets icon. Saved events live in the Saved section, while purchased tickets live in the Tickets section. I like that Eventbrite separates those two categories, as it makes identifying which is which much simpler. Ticketmaster does the same, but Songkick, sadly, combines favorites and purchases into one category in its Plans section. You can also add events to your calendar, be it from Apple, Google, Outlook, or Yahoo.
The ticket purchase process requires that you input your name, email address, and credit/debit card information within a 15-minute time frame. If you don’t complete the purchase within the allotted time, you lose the held ticket and have to begin the process anew. In my experience with the service, Eventbrite handles the ticketing; I can’t recall a time when I was shuttled to Ticketmaster or StubHub to complete the transaction. Songkick, on the other hand, sends you to a third party to make a ticket purchase.
Sadly, Eventbrite doesn’t support multiple account logins. This makes things a bit frustrating for people like me who use Eventbrite for both professional (E3 after parties) and personal reasons (ramen festivals). The ability to switch between accounts would be a welcome addition. Instead, you have to create two accounts, with two different email addresses, and then log in and out as needed.
Eventbrite keeps a full record of all your ticket purchases. In fact, I scrolled back to 2009 (nearly a decade ago!) to find an invite for a housewarming party. I didn’t expect Eventbrite to serve up some warm and fuzzy memories when I started testing it for this review.
The Eventbrite Mobile Apps
Eventbrite has apps for the Android and iOS platforms. I mainly tested Eventbrite on my Google Pixel XL, but I spent a bit of time with the iPhone version, too. The apps are very similar to each other in terms of design, and both offer the browser-based version’s many useful features. That said, they differ from the web version in small ways.
For example, you can use your phone as a barcode-based e-ticket instead of physically printing one out a ticket—that’s very convenient. In addition, the mobile apps let you edit your user profile to add or remove event topics. Unfortunately, that option isn’t available in the web version.
Paint the Town Red
Overall, Eventbrite is a useful tool for discovering interesting events in your neck of the woods. Depending on what you’re into, Eventbrite could serve as your main method of discovering local activities, or, if you’re like me, you may find it works best as a companion to the likes of StubHub and Ticketmaster. Eventbrite is excellent at serving up cupcake bake-offs, walking tours, and other relatively small-scale events, but if it’s big-name Broadway shows you’re after, StubHub and Ticketmaster are better choices.