You are correct Hal in regards to the 'crush at the door'. It seems regardless of venue it always seems overly chaotic. I will say though, for the past few years at the Gladstone getting in has been less hectic. The addition of more than one person working the door has helped. It's usually been the 'seating' which has been a nightmare (for myself and many others). I think if you continue with the idea of on-line registration there should be some sort of perk. Pretty much a 'first come-first served' deal. It doesn't really seem fair that someone taking the initiative to jump onboard & pay right away should end up getting the shitty end of the stick to a last minute door crasher. For those who want that sweet spot in some restaurant---they make a reservation. People want great seats for Lady Gaga at the ACC---they jump on the online pre-sales. The 'early bird catches the worm' and all of that jazz. There could be some sort of seat/area classification system by the staff (just like Ticketmaster uses) and the first 3 to register have tables 1,2,3 or something to that extent. Ultimately I think just scrapping pre-payments and having everyone line-up would be the most effective. You want to be the first in line to grab whatever seat you want?? Then grab your sleeping bag. I see it outside videogame stores/shore stores/Rockefeller Plaza for the NBC summer concert series/etc. It can work (as the early years of Canzine have proven) Just an idea.
The 'early bird' idea would also be a great benefit to out-of-towners (like myself) Sometimes a Greyhound bus breaks down and takes 5 hours to make it to Toronto and some kid has made a payment well in advance (may have been even the first to pay period) and he/she arrives----NO tables period. He/she has paid for a spot---no spot. Do you get a refund. Not likely. Someone registering online totally avoids this (unless someone at the door totally screws up)