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What are Backstage Passes?

Diana Bocco
Updated: May 23, 2024

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. They 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: all-access passes, stage crew passes, limited access passes, and "sticky passes."

All-access and stage crew 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 passes that have a definite date on them, which means that 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 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. They are sometimes called VIP passes, 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.

WiseTour is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various businesses. With a data-focused approach and a talent for sharing engaging stories, Diana’s written work gets noticed and drives results.
Discussion Comments
By bythewell — On Jul 03, 2013

@Ana1234 - Well, you might not be an extrovert though and most performers are going to be extroverts, so they probably welcome the chance to talk to fans after a show. Especially since it would be relatively genuine, but also controlled, being surrounded by their own staff.

I'm sure they sometimes come across annoying fans, but most of the time it would just be a bunch of people wanting to say "hi, I love your work!" and that's got to be good for the soul.

By Ana1234 — On Jul 03, 2013

@indigomoth - Well, I'm sure there are plenty of smaller concerts where any backstage concert pass is essentially going to mean an all access pass, because there isn't that much backstage to access.

I wonder if it gets really annoying for the performers to have random strangers showing up, expecting to be their new best friend all the time. I mean, they always seem to give out an awful lot of backstage passes and they are supposed to include interaction with the performers.

I guess they can just continue to keep their onstage persona on as they meet their fans, but it doesn't sound like much fun to me.

By indigomoth — On Jul 02, 2013

@anon235050 - Well, I think a lot of the time people aren't expected to watch the whole show from the backstage. They only go there before and maybe after the show and spend the rest of the time in the audience.

I've heard competitions offering "all access" backstage passes all the time. I'm wondering now if they really mean "sticky" passes and are just advertising them as being all access in order to make them sound special. Not that I'd say no to a free backstage pass either way, but I don't like it when industry terms are used in the wrong way like that.

By anon235050 — On Dec 15, 2011

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.

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various...
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