When planning a concert, you may wonder what types of access passes you should have, or if the artist will bring them. Here is a quick guide to what passes you want to create and have available, and what they mean. First let’s answer the question “what are the different levels of access we should give?”

➤ ALL ACCESS

This one should be given to the fewest people possible, and reserved for those that need to be able to get everywhere. From green rooms to backstage to tech areas, they need to flow seamlessly around. This doesn’t give them a free pass to barge into a dressing room without knocking, but it means they are authorized to be anywhere in the venue if security questions them at any point. Again, this should only be given to a few select people.

➤ ARTIST

Artists can either carry their own passes, or you can make ARTIST passes for them. Essentially it’s the same as an all-access pass because they can go anywhere, but some like a distinction so that security knows they are with the performer and should be able to breeze past security, especially when they need to get to stage. And, backstage folks also know not to ask anyone with an Artist pass any venue-specific questions.

➤ WORKING

Working passes are for tech crew, production companies, loaders and hands, and anyone working backstage at the show that needs to be able to get in and out of stage doors, but shouldn’t be going in/out or near artist rooms or dressing rooms.

➤ MEDIA

Media has the lowest level of access. They do not get backstage or artist room access with their passes. It is more so an identifier. They should be wearing a media credential or pass so that security knows they are allowed to have a professional level camera in the building and be close to the stage, usually right in front of stage for the first 3 songs.

Why do these passes matter?

When artist teams are on the road, security is a major concern. If you’ve ever dealt with an out of control fan, or enemy for that matter, you know why these passes are integral. Feeling safe and secure will help your Artist and their team put on the best show possible. If they are distracted by security and safety concerns, you will surely hear about it. Think of your backstage area as an Artist’s home, and think of their dressing room as their bedroom. The passes allow your security to quickly and efficiently determine who is supposed to be going in and out of secure areas. Without them, your security has to question everyone that goes past them, and it makes for a security nightmare.

Some planning committees have large groups they feel should have access to backstage, but it makes security very difficult. Without knowing if anyone in a large group should be backstage, artists have to wonder if they are safe when they see a crowd of folks without passes within the secured backstage area. Even if the larger group is all wearing passes, it makes someone without a pass that much less noticeable until they’re a problem if they can hide within a group of people. In general, the more people you have backstage, the more tense and alert your artist team feels. Try to limit the number of people backstage, side stage, and generally within secure backstage areas to avoid any confusion or safety issues.

 

How to Make a Backstage Access Pass

Your pass should be:

  • About 3” x 5” in size
  • Laminated
  • Hung by a lanyard or easily and non-destructively attached (i.e. cloth sticker)
  • Unique – make sure it’s not posted anywhere online (so it cannot be replicated)

Your pass should contain:

 

  • The event name
  • Your organization
  • Artist name(s)
  • Your creative design and style for that event
  • A large section stating the level of pass: All Access, Artist, Working, or Media
  • Consider adding the date and sponsors

Don’t Forget – Get Approval

It’s a good idea to get your passes approved the artist’s advancing team before printing them. This usually starts the conversation about whether the artist team will have any of their own passes with them, or how many artist passes they will need you to make for them.

Questions? Reach out, we can help. Working with us as your middle agent can help make all these details seem less daunting.

Jolene Chevalier

Founder & Talent Buyer | How To Concerts

Jolene has been a middle buyer for over 15 years, helping colleges and others with their concerts, comedians, and speakers. (And, yes, she is named after the Dolly Parton song.) She would love to talk with you about helping to book, plan, and prepare for your event.

920.764.1200   |   jolene@howtoconcerts.com

Jolene Chevalier

Founder & Talent Buyer | How To Concerts

Jolene has been a middle buyer for over 15 years, helping colleges and others with their concerts, comedians, and speakers. (And, yes, she is named after the Dolly Parton song.) She would love to talk with you about helping to book, plan, and prepare for your event.

920.764.1200   |   jolene@howtoconcerts.com