From the second the Paris attacks began, concert promoters and venue operators worldwide went “Uh-oh. This is gonna be bad.” If armed suicide-vested gunmen can just walk into a gig and kill a hundred people, what will that mean for concert security going forward? How could anyone stop such an attack?
And it’s not just concerts. Remember that the US has seen a bunch of movie theatre shootings in recent years. What can be done? Should anything be done? Billboard takes a look.
“Unfortunately, the concert world has become a bit complacent after 9/11,” says entertainment attorney and crisis manager Ed McPherson, who has supervised many concert emergencies, including the 2003 fire that killed 100 people at a Great White show in Rhode Island. “Magnetometers were placed at many concert venues in L.A. and elsewhere immediately after 9/11, but were later discontinued at most venues. Certainly, these and other security measures are going to have to be employed.”
“Clubs are about having fun, and other than an ID check and [bouncers], they wouldn’t have any type of security that you see at a major event,” says Russ Simons, managing partner at Venue Solutions Group and the Chairman of the DHS’ Public Assembly Facility Sub-Sector Council. “Venue owners and promoters will have to rethink things, which will affect costs down the road.”
Several venue owners say they are working with police to review their security measures in the wake of the attacks. “We are in constant communication with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, along with intelligence authorities and other consultants, to ensure our security is continually taking proactive measures,” Staples Center president Lee Zeidman, who also runs the Microsoft Theater and L.A. Live, said in a statement. A New York Police Department representative confirmed there will be increased security in venues across the city, but declined to provide specifics.