Learn something new every day More Info... by email
If you are a music fan, you know that getting backstage passes is one of the best things that can happen to you. Backstage passes are basically a piece of laminated paper that can be worn either hanging around the neck or clipped on a belt. This serves as a business card of sorts, which announces the bearer's connection to the event. Backstage passes are usually issued to employees, so fans with access to one can usually get into areas not open to the regular public. There are basically four types of backstage passes: all-access passes, stage crew passes, limited access passes, and "sticky passes."
All-access and stage crew backstage passes are issued to employees only. This can refer to anybody working on the concert, from the performers themselves to the people who set-up the stage. Some workers may be issued temporary backstage passes that have a definite date on them. This means the workers are only granted access privileges during the time specified but should leave the premises by the time the concert starts. Depending on the event and the venue, these types of backstage passes may include certain security measures, such as holograms, raised writing, or a signature from the performers themselves.
Limited access backstage passes are the most common type issued to fans. This type of pass allows people not connected to the event to go backstage and meet the performers, tour the facilities, and see the inner workings of the event. This type of passes are sometimes called VIP, and may or may not include access to dressing rooms and afterparties.
The "sticky pass" is one of the most sought-after types of backstage passes. They're given to friends, family, and other individuals connected to the band. They are also sometimes won in contests or given away by radio stations. This kind of pass provides access to afterparties and allows the bearer to mingle with crew members, performers, and VIP guests.
Backstage passes can sometimes become collector's items, especially if the band is no longer together or if the pass itself is signed by the performer.
I've heard some people say that having a backstage pass isn't all it's cracked up to be, unless you have a genuine "all access" pass. Yes, you can possibly meet members of the band before or after the show, but the view from backstage isn't always the best, and the sound system is pointed at the general audience, not the people milling around in the back.
I wouldn't turn down a backstage pass if someone offered me one, but I'd much rather be in the auditorium hearing a favorite band or singer at full volume than get an obscured view and lousy sound backstage.