Will America’s Shady Summer Concert Promoters Improve Security After Manchester Attack?

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By Heat Street Staff | 9:05 am, May 23, 2017
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If you’re one of the 32 million Americans who will go to a music festival this year, do you really think the fly-by-night, fast buck promoters are going to reach into their pockets and pay more to make sure you’re safe in the wake of the horrific suicide bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester?

Fans tailgate in the rain before the opening day game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers .(Getty Images)

Just picture it. 20,000 people out on a nice night to see some music. The parking lot is roped off with a few barrels, a couple wooden barricades, and some bored guys in security shirts making $80 for the night. People are doing what people do before concerts. Chilling. Smoking. Drinking. Thousands of folks just milling around with almost no real protection.

Talk about a soft target.

Half of Americans will see some sort of live event this year. The terrorist attack in Manchester occurred at a major stadium. It’s legitimate to ask – how many large American stadiums and major venues are properly protected from the same sort of horror? But these big event venues are run by big companies and protected by security plans implemented in conjunction with police.

DJ Marshmello performs in the Sahara Tent during Coachella Festiva. (Getty Images)

On the other hand, promoters for summer music festivals are not usually major companies.

The organization is often poor, and many of the festival venues are in smaller cities where local police do not have the extra resources to set up perimeters and carefully scrutinize many thousands of extra people.

General view at the Bonnaroo Festival. (Getty Images)

Owners of venues usually make the organizers purchase some sort of insurance and guarantee a certain number of porta-potties and staff, but beyond that, good luck.

It’s a valid concern as the suicide bomber who struck in Manchester allegedly waited until the concert was over to strike as people were coming out into the not-so-hard security perimeter of the concert venue.

Couple these massive, undefended gatherings with the reality that Americans are remarkably devoted to their festivals. Bonaroo, Lollapalooza, Coachella, Electric Forest, The Electric Daisy Carnival… just to name a few. Nielsen Music says that the average festival-goer travels an astounding 903 miles to attend. That’s longer than the driving distance between Chicago and New York.

By the time our great national amnesia kicksin , security may not be the big worry at music festivals this summer. Should it be?