How to buy tickets for CodeMash

CodeMash is a very, very popular conference—demand for tickets far exceeds supply.  CodeMash sells out in minutes, and try as they might, the organizers simply can’t make everyone happy, nor assure anyone other than speakers and sponsors get tickets.  Whether you’re registering as a returning alum, or in the general admission, here are a few hints to make your registration easier.

Update: General tickets for CodeMash 2014 go on sale at 3:05 PM ET on 10/29.  If you didn’t know this until now, pay special attention to the section immediately below.  To check the time, you should probably use something accurate, like your cell phone, rather than your watch or the clock on the microwave.

Pay attention to the details

The organizers communicate a lot of information in the Google Group at!forum/codemash.  Pay attention to the details—the day and time registration starts, when alumni emails are being sent.  If you don’t get your alumni email when you should, check your spam folder.  Contact the organizers in the Google Group within a day of them sending the emails.  Do not wait until the last minute!  Set appointments in whatever calendar app you use so you don’t miss the start times.

Tickets are purchased via EventBrite, not through the CodeMash site.  Don’t go to the CodeMash site to register—there is nothing there for you.

Also, understand the rules.  Alumni emails are sent only to attendees from the previous year.  If you went two years ago but not last year, no dice.

Anytime before registration starts

CodeMash uses EventBrite for tickets and PayPal for payments.  You can make your registration a little less stressful by creating accounts on each of these sites, and making sure your profile information is complete and accurate.  If you have a PayPal account but don’t want to use those funds to pay for your tickets, you may need to create a new account and connect it to the credit card you want to use.

Pro tip: use a personal email address to register!  People change jobs, and alumni emails are sent to addresses on record.  Use an address you won’t lose if your employment changes.

Day of alumni registration – reserve hotel room

The CodeMash hotel room block opens up at 8am ET on the day of Alumni registration.  You need to call and say you’re reserving a room for CodeMash.  Be patient, the Kalahari registration staff knows the drill and is awesome.

If you don’t get a room at the Kalahari, make a reservation at a nearby venue, and check back.  There is a great deal of room speculation, and as the speculators don’t get tickets, the rooms free up again.  Continue right up until the conference starts.  Also, in the Google Group, there are often requests for roommates and carpools.

About 10 minutes before registration

Open two tabs in your browser and log into Eventbrite and PayPal.  Confirm your information is correct.  After you log into Eventbrite, open the CodeMash registration page.

Decide what ticket you want—conference only (Thurs & Fri), conference plus one day of precompiler (Weds-Fri), or conference plus two days of precompiler (Tues-Fri).  Make up your mind before you try and register—going back during registration has caused problems and delayed or prevented people from registering.

If you buy a conference only and decide you want to upgrade to precompiler, you can sometimes upgrade at a later date, subject to availability.  No guarantees.

At registration time

Until the exact second registration starts, you’ll see a “no tickets available” (or similar) message.  Use control+F5 to reload the page over and over.  When you see a list of tickets, choose the one you want, and continue registration.  Now, relax.  The worst is over—you have 45 minutes to complete your purchase, and Eventbrite shows you a countdown clock.  Since you should be already logged in, you just need to confirm your information and continue on.

To pay, you’ll be transferred to PayPal.  You should still be logged in, but if not, log in again.  Again, be calm.  45 minutes.  Choose your payment method, complete your purchase.  Make sure you click the link to go back to Eventbrite and complete your purchase!  Once you’re transferred back to Eventbrite, you should see a purchase confirmation.  You’re done, celebrate all over social media and start planning your outfits.

If you don’t get a ticket

Ticket sessions are reserved for 45 minutes.  If a ticket isn’t purchased within 45 minutes, it’s released back into the pool.  About 40 minutes after registration started, come back and try again.  Keep trying, since sessions all started at different times.  If you still don’t get a ticket, put yourself on the wait list and keep watching the Google Group—tickets are canceled up until the conference starts, especially in the final week leading up to the conference and you may be able to score one of these.

If you get a ticket

Check out my post An Unofficial Guide to CodeMash:

If you can’t get a room at the Kalahari

There are a lot of nearby hotels in Sandusky, including a Great Wolf Lodge (that’ll show ’em–get admission to two indoor water parks!).  Grab a room at a nearby hotel and watch the Google group–people’s plans change and rooms become available, especially in the two weeks leading up to CodeMash.  The Kalahari will have a shuttle to the nearest hotels, see!topic/codemash/sjL8fHEcPrE.