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Controlling Backstage Access at Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

Any large-scale music festival with over 50,000 festival goers needs thousands of people to work behind the scenes requiring a number of backstage passes to be issued. The backstage area of any music festival can be a hectic place and organisers should carefully mange access to avoid overcrowding of unnecessary people who could disrupt the festival's smooth running. 


There are key roles for which backstage access is essential and include stage mangers, producers, audio and lighting engineers and the artist’s support crew. Anyone else can potentially interfere with the operational aspects of performances so organisers need to ensure only essential individuals gain access.

Who Gets Backstage Access.
The most essential backstage passes are given to the festival organising staff and selected volunteers who are there to ensure the smooth running and changeover of sets for example. Of course, artists, their managers and support crew also need access to ensure that dressing rooms, riders and equipment are in order. Selected media and reporters may be given access but they should be ushered to a specific area without free rein of the backstage area. The same is likely for VIPs and corporate sponsors who have paid large amounts for access and the chance of a meet and greet with artists.

Access Pass Control. 
With so many people to monitor the issuing of backstage passes needs to be strictly controlled but fortunately there are systems and processes that can really assist with this. The days of a handwritten guestlist have mostly been confined to the history books and replaced by computerised systems. Festival organisers need to ensure that the names of everyone to be granted access is known well in advance along with an indication of the areas to which they can access. Passes are issued electronically prior to the event and will usually include a QR code or bar code to allow for verification. To control the number of people who can access the backstage area organisers can limit the number of guests passes an artist receives, the same number limit can be applied to the media and VIP passes issued.

On-site Management. 
The backstage area needs to be physically secured with sufficient fencing and access control manned by staff or volunteers who are well briefed on the access control procedures. Having the ability to scan QR codes is essential so that security staff can check everyone who attempts to gain access. It would also be prudent to have roaming security who can make random checks on anyone backstage to ensure they have the necessary pass. Regular check of security fences will also be required to prevent any unauthorised access. There will always be chancers who attempt to gain access to the backstage area so organisers need to ensure they have a process in place on how these people are dealt with.

For organisers planning their festivals using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics including guestlist management and issuing of passes. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by Luca Nardone from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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