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Author Topic: Meet and Greets (General Discussion)  (Read 149 times)
CWazyTom
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« on: January 18, 2021, 12:06:46 AM »

Since the middle of 2020, I've been to 7 virtual Meet and Greets (8 if you count the private virtual Christmas concert my friends and I did with Alex, since she did chat with us a bunch too).

Personally, I've found them to be much more satisfying than the typical Celtic Woman PBS M+G and even a lot of the solo show M+Gs.

PBS Meet and Greets

Advantages:
  • Photos with the girls in their dresses
  • Hugs!

Disadvantages:
  • Photos are not taken by professional photographers and don't always turn out well.
  • Expensive
  • Very rushed (less than 30 seconds per person/pair ... maybe a minute or so if you're lucky)
  • Seat location for the show is often good, but sometimes isn't. I've see row L tickets for PBS M+Gs. You don't find out your seat until usually a few weeks before the show.
  • Depending on where you live and where the shows get booked, you might have to travel a fair distance to take in a show that has a M+G and travel can be expensive.
  • No signings (not for quite a while)

Solo Meet and Greets

Some artists that have moved on from Celtic Woman continue to perform on their own or as part of a different tour.

Advantages:
  • Often much cheaper than PBS M+Gs
  • Often less rushed than PBS M+Gs
  • Hugs!
  • Photos!

Disadvantages:
  • The artists doing the solo shows don't tour as much as the CW group. Less shows means more likelyhood of having to travel a significant distance to see it and meet the artist(s).
  • The solo shows tend to draw a lot of superfans from all over the place. That's a lot of passionate people who want to spend a lot of time with the artist. The artist's time is limited and it can sometimes be a challenge to get as much time/attention as you want.
  • Sometimes, they aren't announced in advance (you might find out during the show if there will be a M+G afterwards or not).
  • Even though they're usually less rushed than PBS M+Gs, you still only get a few minutes to chat.

Stage Door / Tour Bus Encounters / Chance Encounters in the Wild:

Advantages:
  • Can be less rushed than the PBS M+Gs
  • More casual than the PBS M+Gs
  • You may be able to have a short conversation
  • You get to shower a performer with praise right after a show
  • You might hear bits of information they wouldn't share with out at a formal M+G
  • My friends and I have had some unique and memorable experiences at stage doors and they're often more personal than the formal M+Gs.
  • Hugs (sometimes)
  • Casual photos
  • Possibility of having things signed

Disadvantages:
  • There are no guarantees you'll be able to meet the performer(s). Sometimes you wait for a long time with no payoff.
  • The layout of some venues make it difficult or impossible to intercept performers before they leave the area.
  • Security may not let you hang around or get close enough to interact with the performers.
  • Weather concerns (could be cold, raining, etc).
  • Some performers may be tired or be in a rush to get on the bus.
  • You may have to compete with other fans for time/attention. Sometimes they won't have time to interact with everyone that's waiting for them.
  • It's unmoderated, so more assertive people tend to get more time.
  • Because it's informal and there's less certainty than an organized M+G, anxiety can be an issue for some. For some people, it can take a lot of courage to try these.
  • Light isn't always great for photos and might not always have time to take one.

Virtual M+Gs:

2020 saw the rise of virtual Meet and Greets. There are three main forms I've encountered so far:
1. Community (a group of fans some of which you may know and some you may not)
2. Private group (you choose your own group)
3. One-on-one (just you and the artist)

Community Virtual M+Gs:

Some advantages:
  • You get to see / meet other fans (if you're interested in that sort of thing). You can hear the stories of others, some of which may be inspiring or insightful.
  • If you're shy/introverted or not sure what to talk about, the pressure's not all on you. You can sit back and listen.
  • Other people might have great questions and you get to hear the answers.

Some disadvantages:
  • There can be a lot of people in the M+G at once.
  • The larger the group, the less direct interaction with the artist you're likely to get.
  • Some of these end up being free-for-alls, where there's not a lot of time management / moderation. Some people are more assertive than others and those people get more time.
  • Your conversation's not private (there are strangers in the meeting with you).
  • Some people forget to use the mute button ::)

Private Group Virtual M+Gs:

Advantages:
  • You get to choose the people with you in the M+G (your friends, family, etc).
  • No strangers.
  • Usually time to connect in a meaningful way with the artist.
  • Usually smaller groups than community M+Gs, so everyone gets more time with the artist.
  • You get to hang out with friends and an artist you care about.
  • Others can help carry the conversation if you're shy or not sure what to say.
  • You're sharing time with the artist, but you normally have MUCH more time than you do at a PBS M+G, stage door, or even a solo M+G. Your group really has time to casually interact with the artist and have real, meaningful conversations.
  • Opportunity to split the cost among participants.

Disadvantages:
  • Not a lot unless you'd rather have 1-on-1 or private time with the artist.
  • There's multiple people, so each person on average gets less direct interaction time with the artist.

Private 1-on-1 Virtual M+Gs:

Advantages:
  • You get 1-on-1 time with the artist from the comfort of your home (or wherever you happen to be at the time)!
  • More accessible for fans from around the world that can't easily make it to many live an-venue shows.
  • You get to connect in a meaningful way with the artist.
  • Private conversations.
  • More convenient / flexible timing than in-person M+Gs.
  • If there are a bunch of things you want to talk to the artist about, all the time is yours to do so.

Disadvantages:
  • Can be intimidating if you're shy or aren't comfortable carrying on an extended conversation. Many artists will be able to help lead the conversation though so it doesn't get too awkward.
  • You don't benefit from the energy or insights of other people.
  • No hugs.
  • You and the artist both need pretty good Internet.

My Thoughts:

I didn't think I would enjoy virtual M+Gs, especially the 1-on-1s. I'm shy and have struggled with anxiety issues in the past. Sometimes I find it difficult to carry on a conversation for an extended period unless I'm really passionate about the topic being discussed (otherwise, I tend to sit and listen instead of talking).

The community M+Gs I've been a bit less thrilled with. It's sometimes interesting to hear other people, but as somebody that's not very assertive, I tend to not get much time to say anything. Because the involvement is more passive, I don't get quite as much out of these as the private group M+Gs or the 1-on-1s.

Alex's 1x1 and private group M+Gs have been fantastic! I surprised myself in the 1-on-1 M+G that it was so easy for me to just have a regular conversation with her. It was nothing like a PBS M+G or stage encounter and I found the virtual M+G far more meaningful and fulfilling. The group M+Gs with friends are really fun and for me, they require less preparation.

Lisa's 1x1 M+G was fantastic too! I never thought I'd enjoy these so much or be so comfortable doing them.

So far, I've enjoyed the virtual M+Gs far more on average than the in-person M+Gs.

I think if we continue to share our M+G experiences and make artists aware of how much we value them, we could see them become more prevalent. Certainly now, while touring is still on hold. Even after live at-venue shows eventually return, I think there's a real potential demand for these.

Maybe there's an opportunity for PBS to offer both in-person and virtual M+Gs and sell extra pledge tickets that way. There's obviously a challenge in holding virtual M+Gs when on a tour (Internet quality may differ from place to place and time may be very limited for the artists).

While artists are in between tours, they no doubt want to have their downtime. But some solo artists go a while between live shows and virtual M+Gs could be a great way for them to stay connected with their fans. This benefits both the artists and the fans. I'm very glad Eabha is doing M+Gs once in a while through Patreon.

I know Glen and I have reached out to CW through various channels about virtual M+Gs among other things. That's probably a better route than contacting individual PBS stations, since PBS is pretty decentralized. Ideally we'd get virtual M+Gs directly from CW instead of through PBS, but their contracts may not allow for that.

Over the next few days, I'm going to poke a few former CW artists I think might be interested (I know a few that won't be). Hopefully we can plant a few seeds and continue to grow the great opportunities that are virtual Meet and Greets!
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 09:46:08 PM by CWazyTom » Logged
dbbii
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2021, 12:54:17 PM »

Going back to the "early" days of CW, the M&G's then were only 2 girls, and you didn't know who you would get.  They would sign lots of things for you.  They were after the show, so they weren't quite as rushed.  Some of the PBS stations even had little receptions (cookies and coffee) while you were waiting for the girls to show up.

You had a little more time to actually talk to the girls, especially if most of the people in the M&G had never been to one before.  For those of us who went to a lot of shows, the girls remembered you.  The first M&G I went to was in Fort Myers, Florida.  My daughter, who was 15 at the time, went with me.  Like a lot of kids, she was shy.  Our M&G had Chloe and Lisa K. Chloe started by asking my daughter what her favorite song was.  She then told my daughter she saw her singing along!  Yeah, that was when a M&G got you a front row seat!  After a couple other M&G's, I went to one without my daughter.  Chloe asked me where she was!

I went to another one with Chloe and Mairead N.  Both of them got up from behind the table and came around and hugged me.  The CW people were shocked.  The PBS lady came up afterwards and asked how did I know them?

Yes, hugs are great!  Plus, my treasured possession is a CW St Patricks day tour shirt signed by all the girls!  They did two nights at Radio City -- I had tickets for both nights.  That was an expensive trip!

I'm also a little hesitant about virtual M&Gs.  I'm not a fan of Zoom, etc.  I have had to do some professional training via the internet -- IMHO it's a total waste of time.  I've done a couple of the Facebook "shows".  Generally made the decision not to do it again.
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