How the BET Awards Fan Fest Changed This Year

In conjunction with its annual award show, the cable network brought back its public experience, a heavily sponsored expo featuring multiple celebrity appearances.

Crowds packed the Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live to watch performances by Trey Songz and A$AP Mob.

Photo: Courtesy of WireImage

The second annual BET Experience returned to L.A. Live over the weekend with a roster of events similar to those offered during the festival’s inaugural year. The cable network’s three-day event, which kicked off on June 27, once again included a free “Fan Fest” expo, as well as a bevy of musical performances. This time around, however, organizers ditched the expo’s former outdoor setup in favor of the Los Angeles Convention Center’s South Hall, where event sponsors snagged attendees’ attention with interactive stations.

For example, Pantene invited women to book appointments at an on-site hair salon, and BET lured foot traffic via meet-and-greet opportunities with cast members from the network’s TV programs. Coca-Cola presented a steady stream of mini concerts from the likes of Trevor Jackson, Justine Skye, and other up-and-comers. But it was Sprite, which tapped more recognizable names—think Snoop Dogg, Justin Bieber, and Chris Brown—for a celebrity basketball game that drew the longest line at the convention center.

Although the BET Experience gave guests the opportunity to spot many an act without spending a dime, it also charged fans for the opportunity to catch well-known artists like the Roots, Outkast, and Mary J. Blige. And while last year's Beyoncé concert sold out, this year saw some guests buying tickets to the Outkast show hours before the group took the stage at Staples Center.

Some 112,488 people attended the BET Experience, up 10 percent from last year.

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