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America’s Foremost Hard Rock + Metal Festival Promoter Outlines Security Practices Following Manchester Concert Attack

Christopher Furlong, Getty Images
Christopher Furlong, Getty Images

Following the tragic terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, on Monday night (May 22), we reached out to the one of America’s biggest rock promoters, Danny Wimmer Presents, who put on events like Rock on the Range, Chicago Open Air, Aftershock and other massive festivals, to see what steps they are taking to ensure the safety of fans for present and future events.

Twenty-two people died in the terrorist attack in Manchester, with another 59 injured. Along with incidents like the 2015 Bataclan attack in Paris and the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida, security protocol for mass gatherings of people has never been more important.

Danny Wimmer Presents (DWP) responded to our inquiry with an exclusive statement, offering insight into how festival security is evolving. “First and foremost, let me say that we and everyone else in the live music industry are extremely saddened and troubled by this news,” states Charlie Jennings, Senior Vice President of Operations at DWP. “Those affected by the attack are in all of our thoughts and prayers. The safety and well-being of the fans, personnel, guests, artists and the general public is the No. 1 priority for us.”

He continues, “Given recent events and the world we live in, promoters are having ongoing discussions with law enforcement, security experts, other forms of live entertainment and each other to continually improve our best practices. Everything from site design, to security deployment, to screening procedures and bag policies are being looked at. Many festivals are now adopting a formal Incident Command System that includes a command center for responders from multiple local authorities to coordinate emergency response to incidents. We’re also seeing live events continue to improve their safety operations by leveraging technology, from communication tools to overhead cameras.”

Finally, DWP emphasize the “see something, say something” rule for everyone in attendance. “We always encourage everyone at the event to be aware of his or her surroundings and ‘if you see something, say something.’ If you see anything or anyone that looks suspicious, find a nearby staff member. There’s always someone ready to help.”

Concertgoers can also take several steps before attending a show or festival to help ensure their own safety. “Simple things go a long way in improving the safety and experience for everyone,” adds Jennings. “We encourage everyone to plan ahead by closely reading the FAQs and policies for an event and familiarizing yourself with the festival layout. Make sure you bring an appropriate bag and arrive in ample time to get through the screening process before the first band you want to see goes on stage. Always listen to any official instructions being given by the event and be patient. We are often forced to suspend or evacuate an event due to approaching severe weather, even though there may not be a cloud in the sky at the moment. Our goal is always to keep the show going, but everyone’s safety comes first.”

Tributes continue to pour in for the people who lost their lives in this senseless attack. We’d once again like to extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by the Manchester incident.

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