About Karen Unland

Karen Unland

Karen Unland has been obsessed with journalism since she was 10 years old, and her interest has yet to wane. She worked for major daily newspapers for 15 years, including four years as online editor at the Edmonton Journal. In addition to consulting, she teaches in the journalism program at Grant MacEwan University. She is married to Edmonton Public School Board trustee Christopher Spencer, and they have two children. For more on Karen's vision, watch this speech.

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Friday, May 11, 2012 Published in YEG Live Blog

george_streetGeorge Street, the party district in St. John’s, Newfoundland, is more than 6,000 kilometres east of YEG Live headquarters. That’s far.

But distance doesn’t really matter anymore. What matters is whether you can deliver the service, and this summer will offer, the e-ticketing arm of YEG Live, the opportunity to do just that. has been recently awarded a multi-year contract to ticket the three annual events put on by the George Street Association: Canada's Big Birthday Bash on July 1, the George Street Festival from July 26 to 31, and the Halloween Mardi Gras on Oct. 27.

All three are street parties along a two-and-a-half-block stretch of bars, pubs and restaurants with an outdoor stage and incredible entertainment. An e-ticket gets you into the area, and you can carry out and consume whatever you buy at the establishments along the way. Attendance during the day is around 3,500, and it balloons to 7,000 to 10,000 at night.

“All the celebrating and socializing and music happens there,” says Chris. “George Street is just the place to go... The whole street is a big social space.”

YEG Live had earned a good reputation in Newfoundland through its work with Sonic Concerts. One thing led to another, and they landed on George Street.

E-ticketing is a good solution for events like these, because it makes entry fast (no one wants to stand in line for an hour) and allows organizers to easily keep track of how many are inside, which makes the fire marshals happy. The YEG Live guys call this "load and liability management" and it's a feature of their festival e-ticketing system.

Canada's Big Birthday Bash will allow Cameron and Chris to see what, if anything, needs to be refined before the main event — the George Street Festival, a six-day extravaganza leading up to the Royal St. John’s Regatta, which is scheduled for Aug. 1.

royal_stjohns_regattaInteresting side note: The regatta happens on the first Wednesday in August, and it is a statutory holiday that only takes effect if the weather is good enough to run the event. If not, the regatta and its associated day off take place on the next available nice day. Which makes calibrating one's George Street consumption somewhat tricky.

Unusual Newfoundland customs aside, Chris and Cameron will not have much time for partying, as they'll not only be making sure the e-ticketing works smoothly, but also hope to train staff so that the Mardi Gras can go on without them. Fun as that would be, it is far away, and they have other projects in the hopper close to home.

If you're in St. John's to be among the first in Canada to celebrate Canada Day 2012,  e-tickets to Canada's Big Birthday Bash featuring I Mother Earth are now available for purchase!

Monday, May 07, 2012 Published in YEG Live Blog

The Edmonton Music Awards were handed out on April 28 at a very entertaining and fast-paced show at the Royal Alberta Museum. Sandra Sperounes has a recap, and Gig City has one, too. Here’s a Storify collecting some of the tweets from the night.

YEG Live was one of the sponsors, and employed its new seat-assignment system on the event. Incredibly, this was my first experience with YEG Live e-ticketing — I don't get out much — and it was easy-peasy. I also liked, or at least admired, all five of the live performances and the five videos we saw during the course of the night.

My favourite discoveries were The Collective West and 100 mile house, both of which, I learned later, have members who played the open stage at Hulbert's, where the YEG Live story began. Small world, full circle, and all that.

One more connection: Both bands have shows in May at the Elevation Room at Transcend Coffee, one of Edmonton’s newest venues and a terrific addition to Jasper Avenue. Be sure to check it out!

Here's the Storify I mentioned:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 Published in YEG Live Blog

YEG Live tickets a lot of excellent events, but today’s post highlights three that demonstrate how problem-solving leads to good things.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012 Published in YEG Live Blog

YEG Live has itself an intern.

Joel Burford officially joins the team on May 1, but he’s already hanging around and getting to know all of the moving parts that make YEG Live go. He has even ended up fetching coffee, but he has much greater tasks ahead of him.

Joel, 23, is a computer science student at the University of Alberta. He transferred from McGill in Montreal, where he was studying chemistry. He realized that computers were more his thing.