The Bataclan. Las Vegas. The Pulse Nightclub. Manchester. Gun violence (and the occasional bomb) is now a fact of life in the concert industry. At least people are talking about the situation and what to do about it. The Bilboard Touring Conference included a panel on what musicians, promoters and fans need to know.
Everytown for Gun Safety, the non-profit organization that advocates for gun control, wants to deflate the public’s idea that the National Rifle Association can’t be beat.
Everytown for Gun Safety director of research and implementation Sarah Tofte told the audience Tuesday at the Billboard Touring Conference that the public narrative around the NRA is beginning to change. “What we are learning today is that when [the NRA] is challenged, they are so much weaker than they appear to be,” she said.
During the “Silence is Not an Option: A Conversation With Everytown for Gun Safety” moderated by Tofte, panelists Sam Harris of X Ambassadors, Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman and Monotone tour manager Lalo Medina discussed the effects of gun violence on the music industry.
In the wake of the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas that left 58 country fans dead and hundreds injured, Harris believes artists need to lead. “It is important to get back up on that stage. As artists, we have to make sure that our fans are reminded that if we’re not afraid to be there performing for them, then they shouldn’t be afraid to be there, either,” he said.
Medina said the Las Vegas shooting has changed the way artists think about safety while on tour.