The Charger

Music festivals consider security changes as threats increase

Phoebe Rusch, News Editor

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Recently, Coachella  announced that they are finding ways to combat violence, assault and harassment at the festival.  With the large number of attacks during concerts in recent years, including the bombing at Manchester and the Las Vegas shooting, music venues and festivals have had to step up to allow concert-goers to feel safe.

“There’s always a chance of things not being safe,” English teacher Peter Eriksson said. “I think that there is a calculated risk in concerts.”

According to The Daily Beast, the OurMusicOurBody campaign in 2017 surveyed 500 concert-goers with results finding that an alarming amount of people feel they have been harassed at Coachella, 92% being female.  In response Coachella has decided to put anti-harassment protocols in place for this year’s festival. Coachella said that they will have a group of trained safety ambassadors that will walk around the concert and there will also be tents set up with counselors on site for anyone who needs help or support.

According to Eriksson punk shows during the 80’s may have been even more violent and out of control than today’s. In those days, there was always a lot of pent up energy and the concert-goers would seem to take it out of on other people.  He said that although venues can put some things in place, unless those in attendance decide to be civil and not become involved in violent situations these concerts can never truly be risk-free.

“The problem isn’t just the venue’s problem, it’s also the people’s problem,” Eriksson said. “There needs to be a venue which is willing to work with people to arrive at a better situation.”

According to diffuser.com, large venues have been equipped with metal detectors and more security to check bags before going into a concert. Security guard training depends on each state, but their goal is to make these concerts safer than ever before.

“I think they should increase in security and more awareness of what people bring inside the area,” senior Ashley Cabral said.

Concert and festival concerns are not limited to just violence. According to the Chicago Tribune, back in 2014, Lollapalooza saw a great deal of underage binge drinking. There were teens that had four times the legal limit and nine teens were admitted overnight as a result. Overall, 31 people who went to Lollapalooza were hospitalized because of alcohol, 25% of which were teens.

“I’ve been to a couple of concerts and I always see drunk teenagers and it’s not safe,” freshman Abby Wight said.

 Additionally, many concert organizers stick with the zero tolerance policy at concerts in terms of drug use. At the Lightning in a Bottle Music Festival, in California, they partner up with harm-reducing groups such as DanceSafe to develop better protocols.  The group does drug testing and even educates people of the warning signs of drug use.

Concerts should be fun and safe for all, however, with all of these dangers clear risks to the safety of concert-goers exist. With Coachella leading the way as to how festivals can start making steps towards safer situations, more and more concerts should follow their lead.

“I think concerts are fun, but they always have a risk to them,” Wight said.

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Music festivals consider security changes as threats increase