We all hold out a dream of meeting our musical heroes someday. Whenever we attend a concert or gig, whatever the scale, there’s always a little voice that can’t quite be silenced, telling us that maybe, just maybe, we’ll get a chance to say hello in person to our most venerable icons. After all, they’re going to be in the same general area that you’re in, right? So who’s to say the stars can’t align to align you directly in front of a star? Unfortunately, despite gig-goers best intentions, it’s actually pretty tough to get some face-to-face time with artists; the backstage area is usually sealed up tighter than Fort Knox (and with good reason).
Having said that, there are certainly some techniques you can employ to maximize your chances of being granted access to the hallowed backstage area. Because a dream gig is good; but a dream gig capped off with saying ‘Hi, how are you’ to the performers is even better. Have a scan of BUCKiTDREAM to see if any other brave music fans have gained access to the inner sanctum, then get ready to take down some notes in your BUCKiTDREAM planner as we take you through the do’s and don’t’s to getting backstage at your favorite artist’s gig!
Arrive at the Venue Early (And Find the Buses) Most medium-to-large site concerts will involve a whole day of work for the band and crew. If we say that the average stage time for a gig is 8:00pm, then you can expect the band to be sound-checking around 3pm, with an arrival at the venue around 2pm. Getting to the venue nice and early will improve your chances of blagging a backstage pass; you might even get lucky and catch the band heading from their tour buses to the stage. If you manage to locate the buses, you stand a good chance of striking up a conversation with a prominent member of the crew or band; guaranteed you’ll find one smoking around the parking area. The buses are usually located around the back of the venue, very close to the stage door. Remember where they are too, because you can head there after the gig to catch the artists on their way back out.
Get to Know the Support Band Support bands are usually far less famous (if they’re famous at all) than the main act. They’re probably a local outfit, or a fledgling act on the same label as the headliners. However, the backstage area is the great leveler; everyone’s equal back there. If you can get in with the support, and then get in with the support, you’ll stand a good chance of running into the main artist as they float around the stage and catering. Support bands will always have a limited amount of guest lists and passes allocated to them for any given gig. Do some homework a few weeks before the show, act like (or become) a big fan, and maybe you can get your hands on one.
Look Confident The main security will be focused around backstage passes; without one of those, there’s little to no hope of getting through. However, if you’re feeling brave or desperate enough, and are set on attempting to blag your way through the security with tales of a forgotten pass or a distant family connection, you have to at least look believable. Dress appropriately with that distinctive ‘roadie’ look. Even more important is to appear confident. For your first approach, don’t engage the security at all, merely try and stride on through with your head held high. Fake a phone call maybe; anything you can embellish to make it seem like this is just another Tuesday. This will rarely, if ever, work, but at least you’ll look like you belong there, and provide you some leverage to work off.
Avoid Getting Kicked Out All these backstage shenanigans can be a lot of fun, and add to the overall experience of going to a gig, but remember, if the jig’s up, it’s up. Don’t get overly emotional if any of your cunning stunts fail, and whatever you do, do NOT try and force your way through to the backstage. You don’t want to end up getting kicked out of the gig for acting like an A-grade stalker. Keep it all in the spirit of fun, and you’ll be fine. Bands and their crews have seen it all before; if you make it, good for you. If not, kick back and enjoy the gig!
Many people have a bucket list of bands they want to see before they die (the ‘they’ routinely referring to the artist, not the fan, for as Bowie and Prince acutely taught us just last year – best to strike while the iron’s hot). Don’t wait around with some of these guys; find out when they’re playing and get organizing! Check out A Rock N’ Roll Guide to Los Angeles’ Most Iconic Music Venues for some inspiration, and don’t forget to share your musical exploits with your own rabid fans on BUCKiTDREAM!