When should artists be at the product table?

When you go to a concert, do you expect to see artists before a concert, at intermission, or afterwards?

At intermission and afterwards are fairly standard practice. Before a concert is a little more complicated. Hovie Lister and the Statesmen would not stand at a product table before a show; they believed that there wouldn’t be the same excitement and aura around a live appearance if fans had been talking to the artists at the product table beforehand. There is also the issue of artists not wearing out their voices before concerts.

There’s a great case to be made for artists not manning product tables before concerts. But, on the other hand, enough artists do come out before concerts that artists who don’t would be wise to prepare accordingly. Perhaps a volunteer or a bus driver could man the table before the concert, or perhaps artists could place a cover over the product racks to signify to fans that the table will be closed until intermission.

(Hat tip to an anonymous artist for the post idea.)


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19 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. My take may be overly simple: whenever they want to and/or feel they need to. Different folks have different routines and preferences, and that’s OK.

    • I’m inclined to agree.

      It’s also worth noting that the answer may be different for established stars (like the Statesmen) and a new group just getting under way; it may be necessary for the new group to spend more time at the table.

  2. I attended an Ernie Haase and Signature Sound concert last night and appreciated the guys being around before the concert. its not quite as much of a mad dash to get to the product table as during intermission and after the concert.

  3. When I went to see the cathedrals, most of the artists were at the table before the concert. If they can be at the table then anyone can be at the table. George was the only one who stayed backstage. It did make it exciting to see him for the first time on the stage. My point? Both sides are right. It comes down to fan perspective. When we do multi artist dates, we are usually the only ones at the table minus Mark. I hear it more times than not, “where are the other groups? Are they to good to come in”? I think 30 plus years ago the groups were den as stars so it was ok to stay backstage because that’s what stars do. Now, the artists are see as family. If you don’t come to the table, you’re seen as to good to shake hands with the “regular people”. Plus groups are missing a great opportunity to sell. We do alot of product sells before the concert. These days, when its hard to get people to the table, every little bit helps.

    • I totally agree with Pat!

  4. I think Ernie Haase and Signature Sound have nailed it with pre-concert sales. Around 15 minutes before concert time, they come out and announce their special deal, 3 CD’s for 20 bucks. Then they come out into the audience like a hot dog vendosr at a ball game selling their special deals.

    This gives the audience something to do since they been in their seats for a number of minutes, plus, you’ve eliminated some of the backlog of folks going to the product table at intermission or after the concert.

  5. I enjoy visiting with the artists before the concert, if the artists are not at the table I usually do not stop if a representative is working the product table. As for advertising the products, I think it’s a good idea to get this out of the way before the concert. They also need to be more brief, not telling us every song on the CD’s, most people do not remember this information when they get to the table. The main info we need are your prices.

  6. We will not fight a crowd at halftime or after the concert, so if I buy something, it is before the music starts. My daughters are with me and it means a lot for them to meet the groups before they hear them sing. They feel like friends when they chat with them for just a moment and then always want product. Otherwise, I usually download my music or something like Pandora . Mark Trammell Qt does an excellent job of this. Also have seen Greater Vision and Triumphant and Kingdom Heirs (at least a couple of the guys from each group) work the table before the concert. No one wants to buy product from a stranger.

  7. Most of L5 is at the table at least 45 minutes, usually 1 hour, before the concert begins. It give people an opportunity to stop by and chat for a few minutes. Intermission is usually too busy to hold a conversation. After the concert, most of our guys are headed to the bus to get changed to start tearing down equipment. Like one other person said, it really is what the artist wants to do. We choose to be available pre-concert and intermission. So, come early and say HI 🙂

  8. It is always exciting for me to see an artist/group before a concert starts, because it gives me the opportunity to spend a few more “intimate” moments with them before the crowds flood the tables. I usually like to have product in-hand so I can get it signed (I love doing that), and find that it is easier to get a picture taken because there are smaller crowds waiting to talk to the artist. Often, the intermission crowd will be “new” fans, or people who are seeing the artist/group for the very first time. and I feel the artist should have the opportunity to attend to those fans first. Sometimes, the artists will not be available after the show because there may be radio interviews, or special meetings that they need to be a part of. I have often wanted to volunteer to help behind the product table, so the artist/group can spend uninterrupted time with the fans without having to swipe credit cards or put together “sale bundles” for the buyers of the product, but I am not sure how to go about doing that. I must say that Southern Gospel artists are more assessable to us, their supporters, than in any other music genre I have attended concerts for, and it is greatly appreciated.

  9. Yes it is very important to be there before and after the service/concert. Before I ever got into SG full time I was very disappointed not to get to see and talk to the group that I paid hard earned money to get into the concert with or if I couldn’t speak to then at least buy the product from one of singers/musicians. Now I love being able to meet folks and in a lots of cases this day and time we can be an encouragement to folks that are having hard times and most importantly be able to talk to the person who doesn’t know Jesus as their Savior. Never know who might come to know the Lord just by simply saying hello at first. If they don’t come to the altar during the invitation then that product table could be their next chance to be saved.

  10. Let me clarify one thing and should’ve done that to begin with but seems like the older I get the harder it is to remember the first time. Yes I stand by being at the table but I do understand that not everyone in a group can always be there but there should be a few out of what ever group you are there to see at that table in my view. This is really about to turn into a foot in my mouth so I’ll quit before I get choked. LOL.

  11. When I joined the Kingsmen in 96, I became accustomed to going to the table an hour before start time. Now, the guys in Soul’d Out ask me NIGHTLY- “Why are you getting dressed so early?”

    It’s just a habit I guess.

  12. I was always told to be at the table when the doors open and to greet as many people as you can coming in.

    Aside from that, sometimes it’s best to sell the product BEFORE they have a chance to hear you sing…. 🙂

  13. I have not really been to many southern gospel concerts, mainly because the groups that I love are never close enough. However, there are some groups that I would LOVE to meet and talk to some afterwards, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t have a chance to talk to them. For instance, I once went to a Dino Kartsonakis concert and wanted to talk to him so much afterwards, but I only had time for a quick picture because there were SOOO many people at the table. I would love to meet the Collingsworth Family one day but couldn’t imagine them having time after their concert to talk to me any.

  14. Most of the groups I have seen are very gracious to meet with the people. One I remember especially was Frank Seaman when he was with L5, and it wasn’t only with me it was everybody he talked to. On the other hand people have to remember that these guys have to load up the bus, travel many miles to the next concert and try to sleep in between. You have to respect that.

  15. I drove 2 hours to see/hear a group and they didn’t bother to come to the table at all. The next time they came here, I just decided that I would skip it. I understand afterwards when they are breaking down and loading their equipment but before and intermission would be nice.

  16. i had refrained from commenting on this topic because i am always in the minority everytime this comes up. I have yet to understand why SG fans demand to be greated as old friends by professional music artist. This is the only genre of music that this happens in. Everytime this comes up there are comments from people who say they will never support a group again because they did not talk to me before the concert. What secular music fan that goes to a concert says i will never support this person again because they did not spend some time with me personally. Why do we think we have this right??? Personally, i would much prefer the artist use the time before the concert to make sure i am going to experience the best concert possible. Since i am there to hear the music and be ministered to….right????

    • Artists hang out with fans in the Bluegrass and Americana genres, too.