The right and wrong ways to go about meet and greets

Image by Memorabilia so nice. via Flickr

Jessica Soler | Contributing Writer

opinion@fiusm.com


 

It is pretty standard that musical artists offer meet and greet or VIP packages during their tours. It gives fans the opportunity to meet the musician, or all the members of a band, for a short while and is a great experience. However, it comes at a high price, literally.

Depending on the popularity of the artist, packages can range anywhere from $50 to thousands of dollars and often those packages do not include a general admission ticket. While there are benefits to purchasing the packages, they do not outweigh the shortcomings.

Meet and greets are fun. The anticipation is exhilarating, the encounter is surreal and it can make the performance more enjoyable. They also give the buyer the advantage of early admission into the venue, which is crucial.

However, the expense for these packages can break the bank and for that amount of money spent, the experience can feel impersonal and rushed. A lot of people purchase these tickets and because the meetings occur right before the show, time is limited. These packages give fans just enough time to have their memorabilia signed and picture taken before being shoved out of the way to make room for the next group to be shuffled through.

While the tickets for the VIP packages are limited, there is a solid amount sold. By the time half the group has been admitted the artist seems to have lost their enthusiasm. It is like they revert to autopilot. The whole experience is narrowed down to signing whatever is shoved in front of them and smiling for a picture. Interaction with the fan becomes secondary.

As a fan, it feels as though I annoyed the artist with my very presence. I feel the need to apologize once my time is up, as if my appreciation for their music came off as offending. Granted, there will be those understanding bands that genuinely enjoy the time spent with their fans, but they are few.

This is not to say that VIP packages should not be an option. There has to be some kind of a system to them or the process would fail. The packages can’t be free or there would be no show. On the opposite side, the prices should not be raised or no one would be able to afford them besides a select few. However, the meet and greets should be revised.

For example, instead of standing in line just to have a piece of paper signed, bands could spend that time interacting with the fans. I have experienced this kind of meet and greet once and it was, by far, the best. The group was more relaxed—as relaxed as you can be around celebrities—and it was more informal. Everyone took their own selfies with the band and was able to have an actual conversation with them.

Another option could be to schedule meet and greets at different times throughout the day; devoted fans will show up undoubtedly. Singer Rou Reynolds of the band Enter Shikari wrote, “If someone believes it is morally justifiable to charge you to meet them, you have to ask yourself the question, ‘Do they deserve to be met?’ In fact, do they deserve to meet you?”

 

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