VIP activations for concerts are a very big part of the live concert experience for fans these days and it is a good resource for bands as well as an exciting moment. However, what it looked like in the past is pretty different than now.
Artists have become more accessible through social media because their lives are more exposed. Creating a VIP program, therefore, means creating an exclusive experience that is unique to that moment.
Then vs. Now
In the past, let’s say 1o years ago, VIP was just like a photo op where the artist would show up and the fans would be in line, getting their photo taken with the artist one by one. It was not necessarily a VIP experience as it is now. Although this kind of VIPs are still practiced today, the VIP upgrades evolved into something that is way more of a unique experience between devoted fans and the artist. The artists are in favor of making this experience more valuable and personal.
This “photo op” practice wouldn’t still exist if the fans didn’t see value in it, and of course, we don’t say that it’s a bad experience; it’s up to the artist and the artist’s team what they want to do and how they want to run their VIP. However, most artists nowadays don’t want to meet their fans that way because it feels like an assembly line and it’s not very personal.
Now, artists are seeing a lot more opportunities to do cool stuff for their fans and there’s definitely been a big shift away from getting their fan’s money and giving them a photo in return. Artists are branding these VIPs and they are excited to show up spending time with their fans. There’s a lot of cool stuff that’s happening like big activations and experiences (acoustic shows, Q&As, etc.) and people are actually being treated more like a VIP where there’s a different entrance into the venue, where they’re able to skip entry lines and merch lines, and they’re getting exclusive stuff that nobody else is getting – plus, they’re still getting that photo op. Artists want to make sure that their fans never feel like an afterthought.
Every artist’s vision for what they want to do is different, so the VIP programs vary but for the most part, when someone is on the road running VIP it’s usually a pretty complex program with multiple tiers.
One of the first things that the VIP team would do in the morning on a show is that they wake up and meet up with the venue staff around 10 AM and then by 11 AM to 2 PM they would start setting up. Around 2-3 PM, they start putting together the merch for the names in the list so that when they are checking people in, they can just hand off that merch.
The busiest part of their day as a VIP rep on the road is going to be that couple of hours before doors because VIP programs usually happen an hour before the doors open. It is the time when the artist is done with the soundcheck. VIP reps might have to deal with hundreds of people, so they definitely need local assistance by checking in crazy numbers and staying on track while focusing on keeping it going all the time.
Your Next Step
Working VIP is a really good way to get into touring. It’s tough and it requires people who are passionate about what they do and how they do it. It also requires a lot of problem-solving and patience because fans can be crazy on the best day of their lives. VIP people are there to make it all go smoothly and right!
Our guest, Matt Jara – the VIP coordinator of 237 Global Inc., was kind enough to encourage people who are interested in having a work experience for all things VIP by sharing his company’s contact info.
You can shoot your shot by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know what market you are in, where you live and if you’re interested in becoming one of their local assistance. You can reference Don’t Shit on the Bus – so they know where you’re coming from.