WILL THE PARIS ATTACKS CHANGE CONCERT SECURITY?
Thursday // November 19, 2015
The horrific attacks in Paris on November 13th reverberated through the live music industry this week as many concert promoters, venues, and concertgoers began questioning the current safety measures in place in the US.
"It's a scary time that we live in," says a prominent artist manager, who requested anonymity for a Rolling Stones article. "Security often does a pretty good job of making sure people aren't bringing anything that could harm anyone else; however, there's not a wide use of metal detectors at most concerts, and I feel like this might be an eye-opening situation…a lot of the venues we go to could use a good, hard look at what they have in place and what more they could do to make sure their patrons are safe."
In the aftermath of the attacks, several bands and artists immediately canceled shows throughout Europe. In Los Angeles, police added extra officers to Justin Bieber’s and Snoop Dogg’s shows. Even the NFL beefed up security for Sunday football games.
The two largest promoters in the concert industry, AEG Live and Live Nation, gave statements on Monday about increasing their vigilance towards security and safety. However, both companies were fairly vague about what the increased security measures would be.
Live Nation, which manages L.A. concert spaces like the Hollywood Palladium and the Wiltern Theatre, stated, “The safety and security of our shows, fans and venues continues to be our highest priority. Due to the recent events in Paris and in an abundance of caution we have implemented heightened security procedures globally. However, because of the sensitive nature of these protocols, we cannot elaborate further on the specific details.”
AEG Live, owner and manager of the Staples Center, said in a statement, "The safety of fans attending our venues and events is and will always be AEG’s highest priority. While our security practices have earned AEG a reputation as an industry leader in this area, we are continually evaluating and updating our policies and procedures as we remain vigilant in the face of ever-changing circumstances. We will continue to work closely with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to share information, monitor security threats and implement heightened security measures as appropriate to protect our guests, employees and performers."
Many larger venues and sports arenas already have intensive security measures in place– such as scanners and metal detectors. But these high cost measures may not be obtainable for small music venues, like the 1,500-capacity Bataclan where the Paris attacks occurred during an Eagles of Death Metal concert. Concert tickets are already high in major cities, and small venues or concertgoers may not be prepared to spend that kind of money.
A few in the live music industry are saying that its too soon to assess what this means in the long term for concerts and promoters, and that its unclear what effect greater security measures would have against highly coordinated attacks like in Paris. If terrorists show up with automatic rifles, it wouldn’t matter what metal detectors the venue has. They would be getting in.