OFFSTAGE: My Worst Day at Work in 2012

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

I wasn’t going to tell anyone this story, either because it’s kind of embarrassing, or because it paints a really ugly picture of those guys in the windbreakers. I’m talking about the venue security men, ripe with power and on the lookout for fans claiming that they are “with the band.” But I’ve decided to tell it because it’s one of those stories that makes me look back on the year and think that if this was my worst day on the job, I have a pretty great job.

It was at a Jake Owen show. And I was set to interview him before he took the stage. So I told the first windbreaker-wearing hotshot I saw — let’s call him Mr. Security — and he said I couldn’t go into the venue because I didn’t have an interview pass. I’ve been doing this for seven years now, and no such pass has ever existed. Like, ever. So he made me wait in a corner like a 4-year-old, until Owen’s manager came to get me. That’s when I gave Mr. Security a told-you-so look. That was probably a mistake.

After my interview, the only way to get back to the main floor was to walk through the meet and greet line. As I did so, I ran into some friends and started chatting. And guess who was right behind me? Mr. Security, who now had it out for me. He saw that I had no meet and greet pass, and I explained I was just en route from Owen’s backstage room to the stage.

“Sure you were,” he said. “Now get out of this line right now.” If you’ve ever been treated like dirt in front of friends, fellow country fans and a few industry people, you know how I must of felt. I rushed out of the line and was then standing in unfamiliar territory. I won’t name the venue, but I’ll say this: it was designed by someone with a thing for fun houses and/or Alice in Wonderland.

So picture me, trying to get my bearings and thoroughly embarrassed even though I’d done nothing wrong. Again, up walks Mr. Security. He grabbed my arm so hard that I started to cry, and told me that if he saw me again he’d kick me out of the venue for good. But then, like a knight in shining armor, Owen’s friend came to my rescue and told Mr. Security, “It’s OK. She’s with the band.”

In the picture someone snapped of me and Owen later that night, you can see the mascara on my cheeks from crying. I’m not proud of that. But I am proud that I didn’t let one security guard with a personal vendetta against me affect how I did my job that night. And, again, if that was a bad day at the office for me, I’m blessed . And to any security guard who wants a kerfuffle in 2013, I say bring it on.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.