In the days following the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti on January 12, people around the world sought ways to reach out and join the relief effort. For many recording artists, that meant staging benefit concerts on short notice and with little advance publicity. For Mark Palmer, founder of event mapping site Gruvr, that meant creating a platform that would track and map the ever-increasing number of Haiti benefits.
“I noticed a bunch of Haiti benefit concerts had sprung up locally, at places like museums and local venues like the Middle East in Cambridge,” Palmer explained to TicketNews. “If you happen to live nearby and be familiar with your local music scene, you might see a poster or a listing for these events, but most people hear from big media about ‘big’ concerts like Lady Gaga’s or James Taylor’s.”
Palmer continued, “I figured that I could go to a concert and make a donation myself…but what if by using my skills, I could get hundreds or maybe thousands of folks to realize these events exist and attend them? I’d make a much bigger impact.”
And so Palmer set to work, hacking his site’s search capabilities and developing the Haiti concert search.
The application allows users to find benefit shows being staged within a variable radius of their location, with events cropping up nationally and internationally. In addition to pinpointing the geographical location of each event, Gruvr also generates a chronological list of all benefits in the region.
A recent search on the site unveiled 28 benefit concerts booked for the coming weeks within a 100-mile radius of New York, NY. (See a screen shot of the generated map below.) Still, this localized pool of events is small in comparison to the more than 600 concerts Palmer originally found in the Gruvr database, which prompted him to customize the search.
“It took about 24 hours of hacking to create the special search to extend the spider to uncover more ‘Haiti’ events, and disable ads so cynics won’t think this is for commercial gain,” Palmer explained. “The result isn’t all that pretty, but it does find lots of events!”
Bands or venues that would like their Haiti benefit concerts listed on Gruvr simply need to list their events on their MySpace music profile. Once the event has a public listing on MySpace, it can be tracked on Gruvr using the site’s “Add Band” feature.
Launched in 2007, Gruvr was initially a side project for Palmer, but has evolved over the past few years to include more features. The Haiti concert search expands upon the functionalities already employed by Gruvr for its specialized event mapping.
“Gruvr guesses the visitor’s location, then maps out tons of concerts closest to them, filtered by popularity,” Palmer said. “Gruvr will alert you when favorite bands play in town and remind you before the gig dates. It does this all with a minimum of clicks and doesn’t even require registering a user account.”
As of late, Gruvr has also moved from event mapping into the ticket search market, as well. The new Ticket Scout agent tracks pricing trends on the the secondary market and most major ticket exchanges, also allowing users to sign up for an e-mail alert when specific tickets enter their specified price range.
“It’s the only service that will send you price-drop alerts on a per-event basis, helping fans exploit situations where resellers are cutting prices as the event day nears,” Palmer stated, adding that Gruvr’s official Twitter account broadcasts the best of these deals on a daily basis.