New Reality After Orlando Attacks: Dogs, Metal Detectors and Searches at Public Gatherings

New York Times – by Ben Sisario

For Dolly Parton’s latest tour, the security procedures include not just the usual pat-downs and bag checks at the door, but also two dogs trained to sniff out bombs and firearms wherever the singer performs.

“There are certain artists,” said Steve Martin, Ms. Parton’s longtime agent, “who take security very seriously.”  

Precautions like these, once rare, are becoming more common as the concert business adjusts to a new reality in which the threat of violence must be met through heightened security screening.

After the weekend attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., additional security procedures like dogs and metal detectors are likely to become more common at events around the country, executives and artists’ representatives say, making the experience of going to a concert more like waiting in line at the airport.

These changes will also bring increased costs for things like insurance and labor, which will ultimately be borne by consumers. But audiences may come to demand more stringent security as a sign of basic safety.

“There will be a ripple effect of increased costs,” said Mr. Martin, a veteran talent agent in New York. “Clubs that don’t have metal detectors will have to get them. Insurance costs are going to go up. All that is ultimately going to get passed along to the ticket buyers.”

The rampage in Orlando on Sunday, which killed 49 people, was the latest episode in recent months to focus attention on violence in crowded concert venues, where injuries related to drugs or alcohol have long been more common than altercations with guns.

On Friday night, the singer Christina Grimmie was killed while signing autographs for fans after a show, also in Orlando. Last month, one person was killed in a backstage shooting at a rap show at the Manhattan club Irving Plaza, and in November, 90 people died when terrorists opened fire at a rock concert at a Paris theater.

“Paris was a bit of a wake-up call to the entertainment industry,” said Russ Simons, a security expert with Venue Solutions Group, a consulting company for sports and entertainment in Brentwood, Tenn. “Many smaller facilities looked at that and said, ‘We need to start adapting to the current situation and really examine safety and security.’”

Some artists canceled or postponed European concerts following the Paris attacks. But with musicians now drawing more income from touring, they face increasing pressure to stay on the road.

Security procedures vary widely with performing venues. Larger spaces, like arenas and stadiums, use metal detectors, pat-downs and phalanxes of wand-wielding guards. Most smaller clubs lack the resources to conduct thorough screening, which could make them more vulnerable to attacks, security experts said.

But the latest round of shootings may force promoters and venue operators to put more precautions in place and hire more guards, all of which brings additional costs. (Promoters, the people who take the financial risk to put on a concert, are already accustomed to higher insurance fees for events featuring certain genres of music, like hip-hop, a practice many of them call unfair.)

Representatives of Live Nation Entertainment and AEG Live, the two biggest concert promoters in the world, declined to comment Monday about any changes to their security procedures.

Larger venues have been gradually increasing their security measures for years, led by the demands of sports leagues like the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, which require the buildings where their teams play to use metal detectors. But these procedures also have critics, who argue that they are insufficient to prevent attacks.

The shootings in Orlando “illustrate how random and vulnerable we all are in a society where guns are easy to get and soft targets are everywhere,” said Gary Bongiovanni, the editor of the concert industry publication Pollstar. “Security is already a top concern for major events, but how much can be done to protect a few hundred kids at a teen-oriented show?”

But greater security at entertainment events may soon become commonplace.

Michael Marion, the general manager of the Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, Ark., which seats 18,000 but does not have any sports team as a tenant, said he began to consider adding metal detectors after other arenas installed them last fall. He said he had made the decision after the Paris attacks in November and the shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., in December, which left 14 people dead.

The arena installed 29 machines, at a cost of a little under $100,000, Mr. Marion said. The arena raised its facilities fee, one of its ticket surcharges, by 50 cents to help pay for the machines.

“The additional security will certainly affect our bottom line,” Mr. Marion said. “But I haven’t heard anybody say we don’t want to spend that money.”

New York Times

2 thoughts on “New Reality After Orlando Attacks: Dogs, Metal Detectors and Searches at Public Gatherings

  1. Another crock of schit from the NY Slimes, but what else do they do?

    There’s no “new reality”; only a new level of paranoia and fear mongering being delivered by these lying Zionist pigs.

    “All the BS propaganda that’s fit to print”

  2. “After the weekend attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., additional security procedures like dogs and metal detectors are likely to become more common at events around the country,…”

    Small price for the sheeple to pay to be able to fawn over their favorite ‘IDOLS’.

    I doubt there will be any serious reduction in ticket sales because of it.

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