Something that seems to constantly make music fans either broke or doubtful for even liking the artist in the first place, is VIP packages for concerts.
Speaking from experience (Emily here), nine times out of ten, it is the band labels/management who push this idea, and not the band themselves. Based on this, I don’t think the band should be looked down on for having this option available, as they probably didn’t even know it was going to happen. I’m speaking on behalf of the bands like Neck Deep, The Wonder Years and various others who you would never really expect to have VIP packages on offer.
Where I do have a problem however, is when a VIP package is used to somewhat exploit the fans, and make them believe that they are only going to get to ‘meet’ the band if they pay what is sometimes a ridiculous amount. Bands like Fall Out Boy and Blink 182 stand out the most to me based on that point, because I have been the one to pay the crazy amounts to meet both bands.
I find it frustrating however, because I feel like said bands put on a fake front when taking part in the VIP sessions, simply to ‘please’ the customer. I would much rather come across a band member in a more random encounter, such as waiting for a sandwich in Subway. The first time I met Joe from Knuckle Puck is my best example for this. He wanted to know where he could get a new toothbrush from in the middle of Newcastle, and my group of friends were the first who he came up to and asked. This was during their first time touring the UK with Neck Deep, so not many people knew who he was. But fast forward nearly three years, and Joe still has this down to earth and chill vibe about him. You can usually find him just sat at his own band’s merch table, and he literally will make time for anyone. This is why he is one of my favourite artists.
On the other end of the scale, bands like As it Is, All Time Low and Waterparks have a very mixed fan base when it comes to age; most of the fans steering towards the under 16 bracket. I feel like them having these packages on offer to this demographic is both good, and bad at the same time. It can be a good incentive for kids to maybe try better in school and get the VIP as a reward, or help them find the motivation to get their first job in order to save up for the package. However, I have seen friends fall out because of these kinds of packages, and it isn’t worth losing friends over; I’ll tell you that.
I believe you go to a show to enjoy the music and have a good night, and not for acting like you’re better than everyone else because you got a meet and greet package for Christmas. I’ve been to shows like this where us ‘general admission’ guys have been looked down at by the ‘hierarchy’ because we didn’t have a meet and greet package. I do not think how much you like a band should be judged on whether you get a VIP package to their show or not.
To sum this up, I don’t really feel like I am more for or against VIP packages, I am just totally against music fans being exploited to spend vast amounts of money for something that really isn’t worth it. I am also against those ‘pre-order the album for a chance to win a VIP package for two to a show of your choice’ stunts. I get that people have to make money, but it can be done in ways that are both fair to the fans, and morally seen as acceptable.
What are your views around VIP packages at shows?? Let us know in the comments!