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Backstage Etiquette

June 12, 2012

A lot of bands make the mistake of trying to have their friend, girlfriend or family member treated in a special way at a show. With smaller shows of local bands this is not a big issue but when you are playing a festival or a show with a larger headliner this is a big mistake. Most of the people involved are busy and do not have time to treat anyone not directly involved in the show with special care. While it is fine to give them special treatment where applicable things like taking them to the band room, side stage or private entrances are generally not a good idea.

There are various reasons the least of which is that no one will know who they are or if they trust them. With generally thousands to tens of thousands of dollars in gear and personal property most people are unlikely to trust somebody around this unless they are working on the show. It can also be confusing for security as to who is allowed in what areas if you are bringing people without passes in. They can also get in the way, it might seem trivial but if some piece of gear is broken no one is going to happy if they get in the way of someone doing their job to fix it.

The use of private entrances should always be reserved only to those involved in in the show, especially if someone is keeping watch of this entrance. One of the big problems in letting friends and others use this door as it leaves potential for people who should not be allowed in or given access to this area a greater chance to sneak by. It can also create the chance that someone will walk out with open liquor or stolen gear (which has sadly happened in the past) without anyone noticing.

It can set an unwanted precedent too where this person may assume they can get these extra privileges at all shows. Especially at larger shows and festivals it is very unlikely no matter how much you try that they will allow this person any of the previously mentioned things. These are events that are usually very strict on access and freedoms to attendees due to the either higher complexity of operations or the high level of musician involved. No promoter will allow the risk that the person you bring will do something like accidentally upset their headliner or damage something important.

While everyone wants to show those they care for their job and give them special treatment in certain places it is just not appropriate. If you really want to give said person this special treatment you should never assume anything and make sure to advance everything with those in charge.

-Hassan

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