The Art of Going Backstage At Your Favorite Concert

With Music Midtown near, staff writer Kyle Briskin gives details into his concert experiences.

Kyle Briskin, Staff Writer

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Going to see your favorite band or artist in concert is an amazing experience, but going backstage and possibly meeting them is a dream come true for most people. The question is… How do you get backstage? Today it can be hard to get backstage without knowing someone affiliated with the artist or winning your way back through a radio station. During the past two years I have been to about 30 concerts, and I have always been obsessed with meeting my favorite bands or just hanging out backstage. After experiencing a lot of success and failure attempting to get backstage at concerts, I have realized the in’s and out’s to meeting your favorite band and giving yourself the highest chance of success.

My first attempt at going backstage was in 2012 at The Avett Brothers concert at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. I was a sophomore at the time and was extremely nervous. Usually by the stage at every concert is security guard. This is first entrance you must go through to get backstage. My heart was beating out of my chest when I walked through the entrance for the first time. Once I got in, I didn’t know what to do next and I just stood there looking like I had no idea what was going on. I later realized that I made a huge mistake because a cop and security guard saw me and escorted me out. I had learned my lesson and decided to move on. After several other failed attempts, I decided to take a break.

I learned a lot about the backstage environment when I started getting asked to tour and play shows with different music artists. I have had the opportunity to tour with Christian music artist Laura Story, and I learned that the key to getting backstage is to look like you know what you are doing and to be confident. My next big attempt to get backstage was during my junior year at the Catalyst Conference. Catalyst is a huge conference in Atlanta that many celebrities speak at and several Christian artists perform. During the conference I had put on my sunglasses and walked down into the parking lot behind the Gwinnett Arena. I had no idea where I was walking but I had a feeling I could find the backstage area. I walked in the back of the arena through a set of doors into what looked like a large warehouse. I was backstage at the Gwinnett Arena. I walked past the security guard with an extreme amount of confidence, not even caring to look him in the eye. I was left unquestioned. I started walking down an empty hallway that had a right turn at the end of it. After I took the turn, I was standing in a hallway full of artist dressing rooms and I couldn’t believe what I saw. I was standing next to Uncle Si from the TV show Duck Dynasty. We chatted for a little bit and then I left as he went to the stage to speak in front of 11,000 people. Even though it wasn’t a concert, I had succeeded in getting backstage and meeting a celebrity.

My most recent attempt at getting backstage was last week at the Kings of Leon concert at Aarons Amphitheatre at Lakewood. This was the biggest show I have ever tried to sneak backstage at because it featured big bands including Kings of Leon, Young the Giant, and Kongos. I had thought out my game plan well in advance before the show. I brought a backstage pass from one of the shows I played at in the past to the concert with me. I was going to see if I could get backstage without the security guards knowing I had incorrect credentials. Before going to the show I had to make sure I looked like I belonged backstage and to boost my confidence up. I had put on jeans, a vintage t-shirt, and boots to look like a musician or roadie to increase my chances. I got to the concert two hours before the gates opened and I saw several tour buses parked in the VIP lot. Because I got there so early, there were no security guards by the parking lot, so I decided to walk on over towards the buses and see if the bands were there. As I got closer I heard music playing, and I had stumbled upon a private acoustic concert Kongos was putting on for several fans. I stayed and watched the concert for a little bit and got to meet the band and hang out with them. About 20 minutes later, the door to the tour bus I was standing next to opened up and a band walked out. After greeting the band and chatting with them, I realized it was Young the Giant. Both of the bands were extremely nice and I enjoyed getting to meet them.

After meeting the bands, I slipped past the security into the backstage lot of the Amphitheatre where Kings of Leon were. They had about 10 tour buses and the band was nowhere in sight when I was back there. I ended up slipping into the venue before the gates opened and got to secure a front row spot for myself. After the concert I tested my chances again and walked backstage. Clenching my fists and walking past the security guard, I had made it backstage after the show was over. My dream was to meet Kings of Leon. I stood by Kings of Leon’s tour buses for about 25 minutes and saw their tour manager walk by. I chatted with him hoping he would extend me an invitation to meet the band in the dressing rooms. After I ended the conversation, I watched him walk into a building with a glass door. I followed him and peeped through the glass door and saw a dressing room with several people in it. I was staring at Kings of Leon only several feet away from me. As I looked more fully through the door, I saw four bodyguards and lots of security. I did not take the risk to go in and try and meet the band, but I was satisfied with my success. I got to meet Young the Giant and Kongos and see Kings of Leon from the front row. Looking back on it, I wish I had walked through the door to the dressing room to test my luck but it was a good learning experience.

If you ever think about going backstage and experiencing the thrill I did, then there are several secrets and tips you need to learn before you try. First, you need to be overly confident and walk right past the security guards. I usually wear my sunglasses and pretend I am talking on the phone to someone when I walk past security. If you act like you are mad at someone while on the phone it is even better. Second, you need to act like you know what you are doing. Walk around and don’t act dumb. Don’t just linger and stay in one place, you must explore. Also, you need to look like you belong there. You need to research and look like you are in the band or you need to dress like a roadie for the band. Before you go backstage, you need to have everything planned out from the things you are going to say if people question you to the outfit you are going to wear. Finally, the number one thing you do not want to do backstage is to ask for pictures or autographs. The backstage area is for the artists to relax and be away from the fans. The only time appropriate for pictures is during the Meet and Greet. If you are lucky enough to come in contact with the performer, strike up a conversation with them and act normal. Going backstage is a learning experience; you must try it to even have the chance to go back. Many people are too scared to even try and go backstage and that is why you never here of your friends meeting their favorite performers that often. If you are dedicated and willing to take the risk, make sure you consider my tips and plan ahead so you can increase your chances of success at the next concert you go to. Best of luck!

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