Getting a press pass at music festivals allows you to access backstage areas of the event, liaise with others with special passes including performers, and allows access to the event without the need to purchase a ticket.
For fans of music festivals, it’s clear why gaining a press pass is an attractive proposition. Those who work for high profile media companies have a much higher chance of being able to attend events in order to conduct interviews and write articles which shine a spotlight on the event.
This is great PR for festivals and so it is quite common for them to provide press passes generously, provided that they go to legitimate professionals. If you are not a journalist or employed by a media company then it might be much more difficult to get a press pass.
However, there are methods that many people use to successfully gain entry to festivals by obtaining a press pass. Here are some of the most common and effective ways.
Use Your Credentials
You will need to get in touch with the festival promoter or press office in order to make your case for a press pass. Once you have researched the appropriate person to contact, you can then use your credentials to outline why you should receive a press pass.
Using your work/business email address is a great start. This is good proof that you are a representative of an established media organisation. Of course, ensure that your signature includes your position at the company and make sure it is relevant i.e. Journalist or Photographer.
You can even go the extra step and send them articles that you have written about other festivals that have been published by your organisation. This gives a clear example of exactly what they can expect by giving you a press pass.
Outline Your Intentions
If you don’t have past examples or notable credentials to support your case for a press pass, the next best thing to do is to phone them up and essentially pitch your case.
Once you have found the phone number of the relevant person at the festival press office, simply give them a call and outline your intentions. Here you should outline your intentions for a story or what you would like to cover.
You should think about what makes your intentions unique or noteworthy, what spin you would put on the story and what angle you would like to tackle.
It’s worth planning beforehand what you would like to cover at the festival so that you can pitch that clearly on the phone call. Try to find angles that won’t already be covered and that will attract positive attention to the festival.
Research Music Festivals Individually
Each music festival might have different requirements from the next, with some more flexible than others. Some may be overwhelmed with applications for press passes whereas others may actively be seeking coverage from journalists or photographers.
It’s worth checking out every individual festival website to see what they mention in regards to press passes. They may have their own application process with their own unique set of requirements. Glastonbury festival has its own press application page for example.
It’s also worth reviewing the Facebook and Twitter accounts of festivals and the profiles of noteworthy organisers. These can sometimes present opportunities you may not have been aware of such as the need for coverage of less popular stages or access to run-up events.
Starting small can help your efforts snowball into gaining access to bigger events. If you are a professional who shows themselves to be active within the music community then you can develop contacts that will greatly increase your chances of gaining press passes.
Lots of festivals do run-up events or spin-off events in more local venues. These help promote the larger event or provide a platform for up and coming talent. Many of these are also competitions for bands with the prize of performing at the festival.
Gaining press passes to these events may enable you to meet the organisers of the main event which will present an additional avenue for you to apply for access.
You may also meet others in the industry who can add guests to their press pass or offer you work in supporting them during the event. Developing your contacts in the industry through networking can be a fantastic way to find yourself backstage at your favourite music festival!