get backstage passes
June 22, 2005 6:22 PM   Subscribe

Are there any legit (or not) ways to get backstage passes, or just to get backstage?

I don't know if these things could be leveraged at all, but I volunteer at my college's radio station (an indie rock station, of course, but the concerts I'd like to go to aren't indie at all), and I've worked/am working (okay, interning) in PR-which I guess means I should know how to do this in the first place.

I've been able to get stage passes for some smaller concerts through the radio station, but some big acts are coming to town and I'm hoping I can keep on building my backstage pass collection, or at least the number of stories I can tell.
posted by apple scruff to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've done it by calling up the venue and (inadvertently) finding out that they were short a stage hand. I had really called to ask about tickets, but they were long since sold out, and the guy on the phone offered this as a solution. I asked if my girlfriend could come as a second set of hands -- and after assuring him that she could handle it (it was a ton of work) -- we were off the show. Autographs and handshakes later, our first date went very well. :)
posted by dreamsign at 6:29 PM on June 22, 2005

The way to go is by offering to be a stage hand. It;s hit or miss, sometimes they'll have more than enough people, and you will have to do a lot of hard work, but you could very well get in this way.

I work auditorium sound (our school's auditorium is rented out all the time) and my boss used to be a stage hand at the Georgia Colosseum. He often regales us with stories about how various celebrities are in person. KISS is apparently made up of real jerks, but Vincent Price is a nice guy. Go figure.
posted by phrontist at 6:46 PM on June 22, 2005

Seattle's stagehands are union, so I don't think that route would: a) work; b) make you popular with the real stagehands.
posted by falconred at 6:58 PM on June 22, 2005

I saw Flogging Molly in their waiting room behind the stage by carrying a guitar case through the door shortly after the band entered. This was at a college in a small venue though.
posted by FakeOutdoorsman at 7:07 PM on June 22, 2005

Like many other things in life - if you look like you know what you are doing, others will assume you know what you are doing. Do what you will with this knowledge.
posted by bh at 7:19 PM on June 22, 2005

I've always got them by working in TV - we get AAA [Access All Area] passes. The media often get MEDIA passes that let them get to certain areas backstage and PHOTOGRAPHER passes get you in that space between the stage and the mosh pit - great view, but you might get kicked out after three songs.

The best chance is to ring either the promoter or the record company and lay claim to working for some magazine or other and ask for a media and a photographer pass. [We normally deal with the musician's record company but occassionally you can deal with the promoter].

Obviously if its legit they'll be keen for publicity and soon you will build up a relationship with the record company representitive and before you know it they're giving you passes without you asking.
posted by meech at 7:36 PM on June 22, 2005

i have often wonderer, why is it that photog passes are only good (usually) for 3 songs? where did that practice come from?
posted by ShawnString at 8:02 PM on June 22, 2005

My understanding is that the make up is beginning to run and sweat stains are appearing under the armpits - the band, in other words, look a bit shit after 3 songs.
posted by meech at 8:08 PM on June 22, 2005

Actually, my father carries around various types of badges, and usually people don't bother to check them. This works well with the "I know what I'm doing" attitude. If caught, quickly revert to the "I'm terribly confused officer" attitude.
posted by phrontist at 8:30 PM on June 22, 2005

Next time a band comes to town, call your connection with their label (ask your Music Director to do this for you...) and see if you can get an interview prior to or after the show. Most likely it'll be prior while an opening act is playing or right after their sound check. It might not be "all access" but you'll get "some access."
posted by pwb503 at 8:59 PM on June 22, 2005

Have a reason to be there. Get a job writing freelance for a local music weekly. There's no pay per se but if you have the chops and the requisite knowledge, eventually you will get to do an interview and meet the star in person. Quite often, however, the star is a pompous and self-centered jerk. On the other hand, the star turns out to be just folks and you have a wonderful time talking to them. Peter Tosh was of the first sort. Burning Spear, Firesign Theater, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Al Green were of the second. The trick is you have to do your research and know enough to ask them questions they have not heard before. Nothing equals having someone like Al Green tell you something like 'Man, I am trippin'--I haven't thought about that for years!" The only thing to compare with that was hearing Greg Bear say, 'Olaf Stapledon was my hero--wow, you really know your onions!' Stratosphere, baby, stratosphere. Cloud Ninesville. You have a reason to be there, a job to do and strokes from someone you admire if you do your job well. Little beats that.
posted by y2karl at 9:09 PM on June 22, 2005

Oh, and you get in to see the show for free, too. That makes up a little for the pittance you are paid.
posted by y2karl at 9:11 PM on June 22, 2005

i have often wonderer, why is it that photog passes are only good (usually) for 3 songs?

Besides the makeup and sweat stuff, it might be to force the photographers to get their shots and then get the hell out of the way so people can focus on the performers instead of the crouching camera clickers.
posted by pracowity at 12:42 AM on June 23, 2005

The first three song rule is simply because, from the artist or label point of view, that's all the photographers should need to get a few good shots for a local press review, etc. Of course, photographers would love to sit in the pit and keep snapping for the whole show but, as Pracowity points out, that would be distracting for both the artist and audience.
posted by gfrobe at 1:04 AM on June 23, 2005

If you just want to meet the band, go early when they're sounchecking. This typically happens around 3 or 4. The band's usually sitting around in the venue with nothing to do and are more apt to talk to you. Best of all, you might get to sit in for soundcheck. I got to hear unreleased stuff from Mr. Bungle and Pearl Jam at soundchecks, for example. Music nerd city, to be sure, but it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience if you're a fan.
posted by Atom12 at 6:42 AM on June 23, 2005

You can work as a stagehand in a union house as an "Extra." Look in the phone book for the IATSE local in your area, call the number, and tell them you're available. The work is hard, the pay is pretty good, and you get to have all kinds of backstage experiences you couldn't buy for love nor money. If you like the work, you can get your card and go on tour!
I have stories....
If you don't want to work, I third the "act like you know where you're going" advice. Check out how the shows run at the venue you're interested in, dress the part, (all black, carry a pair of gloves and a Crescent wrench tied to your belt) and just wave at security as you stroll on by. Once you're in, don't act like a dweeb. Don't drool on the performers, stay out of the way, and find a nice dark corner to sit in and watch the show.
If that doesn't work, you could get good at giving blow jobs and then make friends with one of the truck drivers....
posted by Floydd at 7:22 AM on June 23, 2005

« Older Odd behavior when typing on laptop   |   Best place to camp in Ludington, MI? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.