Updated: Jul 14
Love them or hate them, many theatres and events are now offering meet and greet packages, offering you the chance to meet your favourite performers, gain selfies, signed items and other benefits.
Premium event packages that can include hospitality, meals, special seating and more.
Most popular will be meet and greet packages with benefits that vary hugely depending on the artist. Snoop Dogg when touring the UK was offering meet and greet packages that included a meeting, selfie and a gold chain. But of course it came at a cost.
In the past, magicians in particular would come out and have selfies taken with fans for free after their shows. However, there was no guarantee that this would actually happen after a show.
When a VIP package happens, this of course often comes with benefits for the audience members to have front row seats and meet the performer. For the artists themselves, they then get the chance to meet followers and have extra revenue streams.
My first experience of such a package was at a music gig where you could meet/gain a selfie with Sharleen Spiteri from Texas. The package also uncluded a front row seat and signed set list and laminate. Meeting Sharleen was a massive highlight for me as a Texas fan. A great memory and souvenir.
For the magic industry, VIP packages could certainly add opportunities for fans and for performers.
While I have gained selfies in the past after shows from performers such as Ben Hanlin, Richard Jones, Magical Bones, Jamie Raven and Ben Hart, after show meets can be rushed. You are infringing a little in the personal time of the artist and it is not guaranteed to actually happen.
Recently, I had the chance for a meet and greet with Richard Jones. Package benefits included a front row seat, meet and greet with Richard (signed poster and selfie) and a 30 minute extra show of close up pre-showmagic. For a fan, an enjoyable experience. Seeing Richard perform magic up close and personal with a small audience is always an amazing experience. That in itself was worth the money along with the opportunity to say hello.
So a definite advantage is that you are meeting with an agreed set time and agenda. It also makes a special night of your theatre experience. Leaving you with special memories and souvenirs such as selfies and signed items etc. and you were part of a small part of the general audience that were treated to the VIP experience.
So what about disadvantages.
It is likely that many more audience members would like the VIP tickets than are available. Some may have an issue with the cost or feel excluded as they cannot afford that choice of ticket.
Another disadvantage could be if the VIP experience results in the artist not greeting fans for free after a show (if something they normally did). However, in the case of Richard Jones, he still did this which was good.
In the same way that advantages and disadvantages exist for audience members and VIP packages, this also applies to the performers.
As a massive magic fan, I went to the show with my wife and daughter. As they were less interested in the VIP experience and I suspect my wife wanted to keep the cost down, I bought a front row ticket with the VIP experience and then the two seats directly behind me for for family so that we were still together.
To give you an idea of cost comparison, standard tickets were £23 and the VIP was £55. To be fair this was quite reasonable for what you got.
In my experience, the VIP package made the evening extra special for me. For any magic fan, I would recommend such an experience if you have the opportunity and you can afford it.
The only thing that you do need to watch out for, is that the arrangements for some VIP packages are not always managed well by some venues or not clearly communicated in advance. If booking a VIP experience that is pre show, make sure that you are able to get to the venue possibly up to a couple of hours earlier. And if post show, how does it affect your travel arrangements to get home as there could be a delay after the show and the VIP experience starting.
I attended a Penn & Teller live show in June but logistically, the VIP meet and greet experience after tge show would just not work out for me. Though luckily I still got to meet Penn in a shopping centre pre show by chance.
In summary, while the pricing of experiences can vary hugely, just remember to keep an eye on the benefits offered as they can change sometimes. But in my experience, I would say if you want to book a VIP experience and can afford the extra money, it is often worth doing so.
If you have any experiences, please write up in the comments.
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