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There was no barricade, no barrier, no VIP sections backstage.
Though I still believe the price Shooter is asking for his VIP upgrade is egregious and unparalleled for an artist his size, and that the whole culture of VIP treatment has no place in independent roots music, the elimination of the option for festivals helps preserve the camaraderie and the independent spirit that makes these festivals so enjoyable for fans, and gives them a unique experience in music where all patrons are treated equal.
If you needed any more proof that The Svengali of Country Music, one Shooter Jennings is all about creating a cult of personality and pursuing his name as product, just sit back and appreciate that in this recessionary economy when many artists are slashing ticket prices and making themselves more accessible, Shooter is now asking his hard working fans for simply for the opportunity to shake his hand right before his show and walk away with a tote bag. So will the tacked on fees for buying the VIP ticket.
Yes, quite a hefty price tag for someone who has recently been touting himself as a proponent for independent, grassroots music. After a transaction and convenience fee, the actual cost for a Shooter photo op is .64.
There’s was nobody that was “too cool.” There were no pedestals. It wasn’t, “Hey, there’s rock stars, let’s look at them, but we can’t talk or touch them.” In August of 2011, SCM interviewed Zale Schoenborn, the promoter of the Pickathon Festival in Portland that this year is featuring Dale Watson, Wayne Hancock, Sturgill Simpson, Caleb Klauder, and many other country acts in a diverse lineup.
Zale spoke specifically on how separating artists from fans and setting up VIP perks erodes the festival experience for everyone.
Taking artists out to Chuck E Cheese and buying bloggers drinks, playing artists on his radio show and shaking hands with fans over the last few years was simply setup to an opportunity to cash out on the backs of well-meaning underground roots artists, fans, and entities.