|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
A backstage pass is an employee pass which allows its bearer access to employees-only areas at a performance venue. They are most commonly associated with rock music groups.
Such passes are usually a laminated paper worn on a lanyard, or on chain link or key chain holder at the belt, or a simpler "stick-on" applied to one's clothing. Plastic or paper wristbands may also be used. However, some elaborately designed backstage passes have been used by Bill Graham Productions/Winterland, Beaver Productions and many other regional and local promoters. To deter counterfeiting, passes often include holograms or color-shifting properties.
Some venues (including the House of Blues venues and Irving Plaza in New York) require their own passes to be worn, even by laminate holders for the tour. Large music festivals, such as Ozzfest and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival also usually issue their own passes.
Backstage passes sometimes become memorabilia sold to die-hard fans, especially when the pass is signed by a performer.
In media, the term "Backstage Pass" may be used to signify the presence of expanded coverage of certain musical groups.
Types of passes
There are a number of different types of backstage passes:
- All Access passes allow the bearer unlimited access to the performance venue. Such passes are generally restricted to the performers, their crew and management, and management of the venue.
- Stage Crew passes are used by those who set up the stage. If used by local, temporary help, such passes are usually valid only during this part of day, and not for during or after the show.
- Other employee passes for people who work specific jobs in support of the act, such as catering, security, and merchandising personnel.
- Passes for media, such as press reporters and photographers.
- Limited Access passes are usually intended for specially selected fans that get to "meet and greet" the performers, and can also be used for guests of the band in order to give them VIP status. Sometimes these passes will actually have VIP printed on them. These passes are often issued for afterparties.
- Backstage passes are also given out by the band and band's manager to selected fans who want to hang out with the band. These passes are commonly associated with groupies, and are frequently issued for afterparties.
Otto Printing (in Kentucky) and PERRi Entertainment (in Reno, NV) helped establish the industry and were two of the largest manufactures and designers of passes up until 2003. When PERRi folded, the current leading printer of backstage passes emerged: Access Pass & Design. Reno has become the largest source for backstage pass printing. Otto is still printing passes and is the oldest printer of backstage passes.
There are some ways to get backstage passes. One way is to get employed for the venue. Some backstage passes are given as prizes by official fan clubs. Sometime local radio stations and/or local music shops will obtain one or a few from the concert promoters or their agents and will give away as a type of promotional prize.