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The only concert glossary you'll ever need

Album – A group of songs released at the same time under a unique name. Before digital music, these were only available as full vinyl records or CDs, but now can be downloaded partially or in pieces.

Amphitheater – A semi-circular venue for concerts and other events, usually outside, although there may be a covered area close to the stage.

Arena Show/Concert – These are events played in sports arenas converted to concert venues to accommodate the large number of attendees who wish to see the most popular artists play. Being able to fill an arena is a sign that an artist has “made it”.

A&R – An agent or representative of a record label responsible for recruiting and liaising with artists. Stands for “Artists and Repertoire”.

B-side Track/Song – A song never released as a single and likely less well known. This term comes from the days of vinyl records when the best song or single would be on the first side (side A) and the less important songs would be on the second side (side B). Some “B” side songs became very famous, however, such as “We Will Rock You” by Queen.

Backline – Music equipment set up on stage, such as amps, drums, keyboards, etc. Possibly carried by an artist on tour, but sometimes provided by a venue or promoter.

Backstage – The area behind and to the sides of the stage specifically, but also more generally any of the areas that are not open to the public and reserved for the artists and their crew.

Barricade – A physical barrier, often made of metal, placed between the stage and the pit or general admission area. Also sometimes called a “Crash Barricade” or “the rail.” Barricades are meant to be stable and immovable, and they are often placed several feet away from the stage to allow security, photographers and other workers to pass freely in front of the stage.

Box office – Physical location where tickets are sold, usually in front of or inside a venue.Break Down – To dismantle equipment or stage setups, either between bands or at the end of the event.Catering – Food and beverages provided to the artist(s), their crew and other working personnel in a backstage area.

Cover – A song performed by a band or artist that they didn’t write. Recent examples are “Zombie” by The Cranberries being covered by Bad Wolves or Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” being covered by Shinedown.

Encore – A repeated or additional performance at the end of a concert, usually expected but it also must be “requested” by the audience with significant applause and fanfare.

E-ticket/Electronic ticket – A ticket issued to an attendee electronically, as opposed to a physical ticket, usually by email, app or PDF download. Admission requires the scanning of a unique barcode or QCR code and prevents duplicate admissions.

Fan Club – The official organization of an artist’s fans, which may require a fee to join, but often comes with perks in return, such as presale codes, first access to purchasing meet and greet packages or merchandise, and so on.

Festival – A large, outdoor event that may be one or multiple days and have many artists on one or more stages. Multi-day festivals often involve camping at the venue.

Following – An artist’s fan base.

Front of House (FOH) – The part of a venue that is open to the public. It can also refer to the location where sound engineers running the mixing board are located in the midst of an audience of a concert, or the actual sound coming out of the speakers.

Front man/Front woman – Lead singer of a band.

General Admission (G.A.) – Also known as the “Floor”, general admission is usually a designated area in the venue that is standing room only without a specific seat assignment. In some venues this is separate and behind the Pit. In other venues, there is no separation between GA and Pit.

Get Signed – When an artist receives a record deal or a contract with a record label to produce music. This is considered a major step in becoming a successful professional musician.

Gig – Job or show.

Go Gold – When a single song or album sells enough copies to achieve gold status. The standard can vary from country to country, but in the United States “going gold” means selling 500,000 copies of a single or album.

Go Platinum – When a single song or album sells enough copies to achieve platinum status. The standard can vary from country to country, but in the United States, “going platinum” means selling 1 million copies of a single or album (doubling what it takes to “go gold”). It’s common to hear of an album going double platinum or multi-platinum, and sometimes artists are introduced as multi-platinum artists.

Groupie – A very dedicated fan of an artist, also known as a super fan.Headliner – The “biggest” act of a show or event, usually the highest paid and the last to perform.Indie/Independent Label – Self-funded record labels not tied to any major or better-known record companies, often smaller in size.

Lawn Seat – Not an actual seat, but rather access to the lawn area of a venue or amphitheater where one can put down a blanket or folding chair to watch a show. These locations are known for being farther from the stage but a very good value.

Lineup – The groups or list of musicians set to play at a larger event, such as a festival.Load In – When the band and/or crew begin unloading and setting up their equipment.Load Out – When the band and/or crew begin carrying their musical equipment out of a venue.

Meet and Greet – An organized event whereby fans have an opportunity to meet an artist or band. These vary widely in what occurs, how long they run, how many people are present, and how much they cost. Some meet and greets may just be a photo opportunity with a band, and others may include a sound check, chances for one-on-one conversation, etc. Often abbreviated “M&G”.

Merch/Merchandise – Also called swag. These are any items sold by the artist and/or venue at an event, usually with brands, names or trademarks and sometimes including location(s) or date(s) of the tour/event. These often include T-shirts, posters, shirts, key chains, CDs, and other items. These are usually sold at one or more tables or kiosks, often referred to as “merch” or “the merch table”.

Mosh Pit – An area usually directly in front of the stage at concerts where “moshing” occurs, which is a violent manner of dancing involving jumping, running in circles and colliding with other dancers.

Label – also known as a record label or record company. This is the brand or company that trademarks and owns the music recordings and videos and also contracts with artists to promote their work. Some large well-known examples of these might be Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Virgin Records.

Opener/Opening Act – Artist(s) that open a show and perform first, before a Headliner.

Pass – Also called a VIP Pass, Backstage Pass, etc. These are credentials, such as a badge or sticker, that allows the bearer access to specific areas at specific times. An example is a press or photographer’s pass, which allows photographers access to an area directly before the stage to take better photos during the concert.

Presale – A short period of time where event tickets are made available to select groups before tickets are available to the public. Access can be gained in multiple ways, but often involve a presale code. Costs and seating options may be better than those available to the public, but not always.

Photographer’s Pit – The area between the stage and the crowd barrier where photographers can take pictures. Also where security stands for crowd control.

Pit – The audience area in front of a stage directly behind the front row.

Primary Ticket Seller – An organization that works with a venue or artist to sell tickets to their events and actually issues the tickets for the first time. When they sell a ticket, it is being bought for the first time. If it changes hands thereafter, it is now being resold.

Production – includes everything needed to put on the show, either supplied by a venue or carried on the road with a touring band, including stage, sound, lights, backline, backdrop, etc.

Production Manager – individual who organizes and supervises everything needed to put on a show. See “Production”.

Rail – A physical barrier, often made of metal, placed between the stage and the pit or general admission area. Also sometimes called a “Crash Barricade” or “barricade.” To “be on the rail” means to be front row at a concert.

Riff – Catchy, repeated sequence of notes or chords that gives structure and character to a piece.Rig – A set of musician’s gear or equipment.

Roadie – A nickname for a crew-person employed to set up, maintain and tear down equipment for musicians on tour. They usually travel with the artist.

Runner – Person(s) provided by the venue or promoter of an event to assist the artist(s) and/or their crew with local transportation, running errands and so on.

Scalper – A person who resells tickets for a large profit; often considered unfair.

Secondary Ticket Seller – A person or organization selling a secondhand ticket. Once a ticket has been purchased from the Primary Ticket Seller, it is now a resale ticket. This is quite common but comes with its own set of challenges.

Security – Individual(s) responsible for the well-being and safety of others. Some artists have their own responsible for their personal security while on tour. Most security seen at venues is part of local events management.

Set List – The list of songs an artist or band plays during an event or performance. These are often printed on paper and taped to the stage for reference. After a show, these are often untaped and tossed into the audience as a wonderful souvenir for those lucky enough to catch them.

Single – A song appearing on an album, but also released separately, as an example of showcase of what’s on the album. It is usually done for promotion, as it’s more common for a single to get radio airplay or requests than an entire album.

Solo – Perform alone without others accompanying. For example, a guitarist or drummer might play alone for several minutes to display technical ability or “riff”. It’s always recommended to show appreciation during and after a solo.

Sound Check – Process of checking the sound equipment prior to a show to ensure all connections and inputs are correct and sound levels are appropriate. Sometimes done by the full band or part of the band, or by others in charge of setting up the equipment.

Stage manager – Individual who organizes and supervises the venue’s or band’s stage and backstage area, including setup and teardown. They ensure things stay on schedule.

Support/Supporting Act – Artist(s) that open a show and perform first, before a Headliner.

Tech/Technician – Experienced crew-person dedicated to specific equipment or setup. For example, larger bands may have a guitar tech, a drum tech, a bass tech and more. Smaller bands may have only one tech who handles all of the equipment, or they may have to do it themselves when just starting out.

Ticketmaster – One of the largest and most well known ticket sellers, also known as Live Nation. Abbreviated TM.

Tour Manager – Individual who organizes everything needed by the artist while touring, possibly including (but not limited to) daily schedule, logistics, accommodation, payroll of touring crew, catering, etc.

Track – A song on an album.Unplugged – To perform music acoustically, that is, without electrically amplified instruments.Venue – Location or site of the event or concert. These can be small clubs, large arenas, festivals, auditoriums, state fairs, casinos, theaters, etc.

VIP – Originally meaning “very important person”, VIP can either mean an artist or someone that needs special attention OR it can be used to mean special guests, such as meet & greet participants, radio prize winners or other fans with special permissions or recognition. The meaning can vary widely across venues and events.

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