When I started going to gigs in the 1970s, concert security in my hometown consisted of hiring the local motorcycle gang. They’d show up in their colour and make life miserable to anyone who dared cross them or break their (often unwritten) rules. Getting beaten up by one of these goons was almost a right of passage.
Then thirty-five years ago this month, eleven people were killed in a stampede for general admission space at a Who concert in Cincinnati. That seemed to wake up the entire concert industry. Going to gigs needed to be safer.
Things have improved exponentially since then, especially since insurance rates–spurred by lawsuits by people hurt (or worse) at concerts–skyrocketed. And the job isn’t over yet.
Ruth Blatt at Forbes takes a look at where things are now and where they’re going.
“Has anyone been to a live show that was worth dying for?” asks Jim Digby, production manager for the band Linkin Park, at the first Event Safety Summit, an event dedicated to disseminating better practices for safety in the live event industry held inLititz, PA last week. Participants shifted uneasily in their seats.
Production managers like Digby are the ones who are responsible for all technical aspects of rock tours: sound, lights, staging, pyrotechnics, video and so on. They are the ones who make sure that the show looks and sounds the same night after night, city after city, no matter how different the local venues. Before working as production manager for Linkin Park, Digby did the job for Marilyn Manson and Back Street Boys.