The horrific incidents that occurred May 22nd, 2017 in the UK at an Ariana Grande concert bring up a topic which isn’t always fun, but is important to consider.
Was what happened at her concert preventable? Possibly. I will leave that discussion for the police. However, we often wait until a tragedy strikes before we take matters like security into consideration. Musicians are sometimes attacked. Whether it is Dimebag on stage, Justin Beiber by crazed fans, or Randy Blythe in Czech Republic, your security is sometimes in jeopardy.
The benefit of being on a stage is that you have a great view of the venue you are playing in. You are already looking out into the crowd, so if you see something suspicious, tell the security at the venue. Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch has stopped many shows to call out a crowd member being inappropriate with crowd suffers. Feel free to do the same. This also goes for what is called “crowd killing”. I was very happy when one of my clients was performing at a show I put together some time back, and called out a man crowd killing. He told him that was not okay and to stop. He did, as he should, because only assholes crowd kill. If you are in a band, you should consider the safety of your fans and other patrons to be your concern. People will look up to you. They will listen. If you see something happening at a show that is not acceptable, feel free to speak up.
Now, as for your own security, there are MANY things you can do to help. Here’s a list of some tips –
When you enter a venue, whether you have never played there before or you play there regularly, recognize where the exits are. Also take note that when people evacuate a building, their first instinct is to go out the way they came in. Make sure you and your band understand the importance of using a different route (IF IT MAKES SENSE).
A tactile flashlight is by far one of the most effective self-defense tools you can own. Buy one and learn how to use it.
I cannot and will not say to buy a firearm, but I am licensed and train extensively with mine. It definitely makes me feel safer. Keep in mind though; most venues probably will not be okay with you carrying a firearm in their establishment. It is important to ask first, and respect what they say.
Common sense goes a long way when it comes to anything in life, including security. Thinking ahead and having a plan may not be necessarily fun for you (I enjoy it, personally), but it could end up saving your life. It could end up saving someone else’s life. Taking responsibility for yourself, your band, your equipment, your fans, the venue, the bar staff, and more is important, and you never know how much you may be helping.
Oh ya… if you are touring, don’t have band stickers or equipment stickers on your van/bus and trailer. If you do, you’re asking to be robbed. There are three separate locks you need for a trailer (one to keep it on the hitch, one to lock the door, assuming there is only one door, and one for when it is off the hitch). You can buy a set at Wal-Mart, Target, Advanced Auto Parts, Pep-Boys, etc. Invest in securing your gear. The $40-$100 it is going to cost for locks is WELL WORTH your $5,000+ in equipment.
I hope you learned something while reading this. I hope it makes you think about security. Having a plan is a good thing. Being prepared is a good thing. Embrace that.