What It's Like to Attend the MTV VMA's

The MTV Video Music Awards are one of the most anticipated events of our generation. Fans hold the power to vote for their favorite artists and see them perform live on TV each year. The 2019 VMA’s took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, for the first time ever, and I was blessed with the opportunity to be there in person. 

    Here’s a fun fact: tickets to the VMA’s are FREE! Much like any live show taping, all you need to do is request tickets from a site called 1iota and just hope you can secure some. I spent my whole life thinking tickets to an award show cost thousands of dollars and  I’d never get the opportunity to attend one, but I was wrong -- the process was super simple. 

    This was my first time ever attending a televised award show, so I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that my friends and I had floor seats to one of the hottest shows of the season (and the chance to see the king and queen themselves, Lil Nas X and Lizzo, up close and personal). 

    Considering the amount of celebrities that were in attendance, I would’ve thought it would be an extremely hectic, exhausting night, but it was surprisingly easygoing and a lot of fun. The hardest part of the night was all the waiting around we had to do, both before being let into the venue, and then during commercial breaks during the actual show. But in the end, it was totally worth it. Here’s a recap of my experience: 

    My friends and I got to the venue around 3:30. By the time we arrived, the line of people seemed to never end. The line was around corners, across streets, then around more corners. We walked for about 10 minutes before eventually finding the end of the line, only to spend three more hours waiting to get in and being moved around from section to section. Once we got inside the gate surrounding the venue, they handed us little pouches to put our phones in. The pouches were locked shut until the end of the show, so we couldn’t even take photos or scroll through social media while we were waiting on all the lines. But the excitement of just being there made me forget about it entirely, and when you’re standing around surrounded by hundreds of fellow VMA fans, conversations tend to just spark up naturally all around you, so the time really did fly by. 

             We were let into the venue around 7, where a bunch of staff members led us to our designated section right in front of the stage. They didn’t fill up the sections at all, so we had tons of space to move around and dance freely. Unlike a concert where people are pushing their way through to get close to the front, people in the VMA crowd were super chill. We were all just hanging out and having a good time; and like I said, there was plenty of room, so there was no need for shoving. 

Before the show started we were given a basic rundown of how things operated and were told to follow the host’s cues to know when to clap, cheer, and laugh. After all, the audience is a crucial part of any live show. The show started at 8pm on the dot and Taylor Swift warmly welcomed the stage with her opening performance. One thing I’ve learned from attending the show is that it’s not much different than watching it on TV. The whole show is designed for television, so there are a bunch of cameramen on the stage at all times and the stars were facing all different directions. Also, a commercial break on TV is a commercial break for us too. Every half hour or so, a timer would be set for five minutes exactly to indicate a commercial break was taking place, and all that happened during that time was the stage being prepared for the next performance and background music being played to occupy the time. That’s it. So if you ever wondered what goes on when live television events go on a commercial break, just know that you aren’t missing out on anything. 

Overall, my experience was a lot of fun and I’d definitely attend another event like it in the future. The event is very organized and professional, and it’s a chance to experience live performances from a variety of people whom you might have never seen otherwise. And who knows, you might even get to see yourself on TV when you go home and rewatch the show. If you get the opportunity to attend an event like the VMA’s, you should go for it. It’s an opportunity that not many people get, so it’s super exciting when you get to say you were there. So bring your siblings, bring your friends, and buckle up for a night of music, laughs, and memories.