Are music concerts becoming targets for terrorism and mass shootings?

We’ve had the Bataclan attack, Manchester Arena incident, and now the dreadful shooting at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas. Are those of you who organise music events or festivals worried about this trend?

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I think anywhere you’re gathering a crowd it’s going to be on your mind sadly. People coming together to enjoy/make music is such a wonderful thing and whilst I don’t think recent events will stop the majority of people still attending concerts/festivals it’s definitely a concern for organisers, venues and music fans. The thing with the Ariana Grande terrorist attack which really resonated with me was that the perpetrator had timed it for when security was lax at the end of the night. Having worked in events for 17+ years I immediately thought of the closing moments of all those events and how accessible they’ve been because everyone is focused on clearing the event, closing the doors and going home. Also mindful of everyone involved in making those events happen.

That’s a really good point you make about an event’s “vulnerable” times. @Jay as a music festival organiser are you taking any extra precautions?

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Obviously these attacks in recent times will have made us think more as they are attacking our world of music but from an organisers point we can only do so much and these atrocities have shown that. I believe security are more vigilant at chucking out time rather than just wanting to close the doors but you really just cannot expect something so awful to happen.

I run my own festival. Its quite small (750 footfall over 3 days). We have just 4 security (24 hour) across the weekend. Every bag is checked before people enter the venue but apart from putting in metal detectors (excuse the pun, its a metal event) the only thing we can do is stay alert.

I work for a company that has 12 festivals a year with 6,000+ people at most of them. They are held at a holiday park (we rent the whole park with the caravans and chalets etc). The security there is very tight. They have barriers before you get near the 2 arenas and lots of security who pat you down and check your pockets and bags. They have done this for the last 11 years though and I have never felt more save than when at these events but if someone was determined to maim and kill then they will always find a way.

I got to a lot of football matches. 50,000 people inside a stadium and I have questioned for years how easy it would be to bring a weapon into the venue. Security is very lapse at most football grounds. I have travelled to 65 of the stadiums in the country and its such an easy target. I am surprised attacks haven’t happened.

I think majority of people will be of the mindset that they will not be stopped doing what they enjoy and will be defiant against any attacks in their own communities. The music scene, especially the rock and metal where I am, is one of a very strong family. I see the same people at 10 different festivals a year. They have become friends away from home. Not one or two people but hundreds of the same faces. They will not let this deter them.

After the Manchester attack was my own festival the same week. There was a planned minute silence at all music venues around the country at 10pm which just happened to be when a band from Manchester was on stage. The emotion in the room was so strong. A lot of bearded men cried a few tears but as we all linked hands, all 500 of us, we felt a strong bond and that we would not be beat by hate, terrorism or anything else thrown at us.

So in short (well long)… we will carry on regardless because you can get on a tube train, you can be on a plane, a bus, walking down the street, in a place of worship and still an attack could happen to you.

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Couldn’t agree more Jay. You’re right in that there is only so much you can do & a determined terrorist will find a way. All you can do is make it more difficult for them, stay vigilant and prepare your team so they know what to do should the worst happen.

Sounds like you are as on top of security as you can be. It must have been top of mind with the Manchester attack happening so close. How wonderful the support your attendees showed. You’re totally right it can happen anywhere at any time and, like we’ve just seen in Vegas, the threat might not actually be inside the event - how could tighter event security have prevented an attack like that?

P.S. Metal Detector sounds like a great name for a new event!

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We already had a radio show called the metal detector hence using it as a pun haha!

I used to work in a retail outlet in New Street Station in Birmingham. Pretty much every day, sometimes up to 3 times a day they had a fire safety drill. Evacuate up to a million people in less than 4 minutes. It was a bore sometimes but safety first. We’d have at least 3-4 ‘suspicious package’ evacuations every week, sometimes as many as 10. Having to pack down the shop, make sure it is all safe and secure from looters and get out fast was a ball ache but I did that for 2 years. It does make you a lot more vigilant.

I am a hater of the underground. Not great in enclosed spaces. The underground is a big target to maim but when I was on a packed tube just a week ago I thought to myself, anyone here could have a device to hurt and kill and there’d be very little I could do.

Anyway back to the music… definitely not anything we can do more than we do now. Hopefully people are not deterred away from our festival next year although ticket sales are down based on the last 3 years sales at this time of year. Our first year using Eventbrite exclusively and charging a ticket fee and I am thinking that has a bit to do with it rather than people worried about any attacks to be honest.

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Similarly I used to work at Bluewater, participated in a lot of training and consequently developed a much greater awareness of potential threats and counter-measures…but you can’t make any gathering of people 100% safe.

Hoping your ticket sales pick up. It seems people are booking/registering for events later and later these days.

Blimey, three times a day! That does seem excessive.
On the sales front, maybe you should survey your database and see what’s deterring them?