How Terrorist Attacks Affect Your Concert Experience

Ariana Grande sings along with Miley Cyrus during the One Love Manchester Benefit Concert after the terrorist explosions from her previous concert at Manchester that left several dead.

We are less than two months into the New Year, and there have already been over 30 mass shootings in the United States. After a horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, many Americans continue to campaign for stricter gun laws. Yet the only progress we are seeing are the small measures taken by schools, venues, hotels and companies to combat further incidents.

The music industry is attempting to take these atrocities all in stride. Labels and independent artists are well aware the music business is making a comeback due to monetized streaming. The industry also recognizes that much of its profit comes from concerts and live appearances. To ignore touring is to ignore opening a Pandora’s box of wealth. When touring, artists finds merchandise revenue, ticket revenue and a growing fan base, among other things.

To take a stand against terrorism, bad press and body counts, many venues have released statements on new security measures. These statements were prompted by the following music-centric events: Ariana Grande’s concert at Manchester Arena, which left 22 people dead; Route 91 Harvest Festival, which left 59 people dead; and Eagles of Death Metal in Paris, which left 89 people dead.

Before covering new protocols, it is imperative to note that every venues’ screening practices are unique and dependent on the security guard’s in-the-moment assessment of threat. Young women, people in tight clothing and concert goers without bags and children will be vetted less meticulously than most other attendees. Even if a specific process is detailed on the venue’s website, security guards usually get the last word.  


Beginning at larger venues, the security will most likely be the strongest versus extremely small venues such as Trans-Pecos and Baby’s All Right.

Madison Square Garden Company –– which includes Madison Square Garden, Beacon Theatre and Radio City Music Hall and others –– have stated on its websites that rigorous bag screenings will take place. However, the company does not specifically outline the security process in terms of metal detectors or metal detecting wands.

Barclays Center’s website is by far the most upfront about its protocol, writing “All guests entering the arena are subject to security screening, visual inspection and bag inspection conducted by Barclays Center Security personnel.”

At its mid-sized venues, — Music Hall of Williamsburg, Terminal 5 and Brooklyn Steel — declared that bags will be inspected and some metal detectors will be present.

Down the line at Mercury Presents –– Irving Plaza, Mercury Lounge and Bowery Ballroom –– the company has ensured that their customers will be inspected by “wand or walk through metal detection and/or pat-downs.” The Mercury Presents prohibits stuffed animals and clothing or jewelry that can inflict harm. Don’t expect to gift your favorite musician with a teddy bear, but do follow these rules in order to enjoy a safe and memorable night.


Email Megan O’Brien at [email protected]



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