VIP Experience: No Longer Just A Meet And Greet!

The concert VIP experience has vastly expanded in recent years and, as millennials increasingly value experiences over material goods, festival producers in particular are positioned more than ever to provide them.

Barry Brecheisen
– Pollstar Live! 2017
VIP Panel

No longer satisfied with a photo with an artist and a souvenir laminate, concertgoers now find available a wide range of perks for their money, including luxe camping and suite facilities, gourmet food options, VIP lounges and other options in addition to the traditional swag.

Moderator Lynne King Smith of

For example,

But BRNV goes beyond its own data to find out what experiences might attract package buyers.

“What works at BottleRock is if there’s a customer who typically goes to festivals but who is spending a lot of money on experiences,” Dragoo said. “We looked at golf tournaments, charity auctions, the Grammy Awards. We find things that are in their lives that can be transferred to the festival environment.”

Of course, VIPs also want to make a connection with their favorite artists, so meet-and-greets continue to be a mainstay. But even those are taking on a new look, with many artists giving real quality time to those willing to buy in for something special, like a private pre-show party and acoustic performance.

Dan Berkowitz of

“Access is a base of packaging, along with a great experience. People crave an authentic connection with an artist they love. Some artists are very comfortable with the meet-and-greet; some are not. Some artists would love to spend three or four hours doing that, but others don’t.”

He suggests that “access” can be enhanced with exhibits, such as a traveling memorabilia museum of artist-curated items, at which artists can appear to talk about “stuff from their own closets.”

“It creates a connection without doing a meet-and-greet,” Berkowitz said.

Luke Bryan has no problem with the meet-and-greet, and sometimes performs private acoustic shows for fans two hours before his shows. He has also expanded the VIP experience into destination events, including a multi-day trip to Cancun, Mexico, that includes an outdoor concert and plenty of time for 5,500 fans to make connections with Bryan as well as each other. With an explosion in ancillary revenue and options, pricing and availability of VIP packaging is something of a moving target.

Promoters must take care not to over- or under-price premium ticket packages, and consider dynamic pricing for different levels of premiums. In the sports world, great seats isn’t enough.