PANEL: ‘The Show Goes On… Moving forward together’
The final E3S panel considered what security at live events will look like in the future – and who’s going to pay for it.
From a promoters’ perspective, said Live Nation’s Phil Bowdery, there is a “huge expectation” from artists about the level of security at venues, with “most international acts bringing a bigger security detail, and are quite detailed on what they want and how they want it, which we haven’t really seen before”.
He spoke of the need to “manage expectations”, considering the limited amount of money in the pot, especially when many artists are now submitting riders asking for armed police. “It’s about understanding their reasons for it, and showing them, yes, we are aware [of their concerns], but that we have to protect our customers – the people who are buying tickets – too.”
John Sharkey said SMG Europe is focusing on a new increased security environment whilst getting people into their venues earlier, which both “flattens out the arrival pattern and has the benefit of guests spending more money inside the building instead of nearby bars”. This, he said, will “help fund some of what we’re doing [security-wise] over the longer term”.
While Paléo’s Pascal Viot said in the earlier Rings of Steel panel that he believes people are ready to pay an extra euro per ticket to cover the costs of security, Bowdery stressed he “doesn’t want the cost passed on to consumers”. However, he also said the current model – where venues bear the sole responsibility for those costs – is no longer realistic.
“We need to come up with a model that works,” he explained, “because it’s not a sole venue cost.”
He added that believes most promoters would be willing to contribute, “but we need some time to make sure we’re prepared for it. We have certain hurdles to get over – artists would be concerned we’re just taking more money out of their pockets – so we have to make them aware of what we’re all doing [on the security front].”
One measure that shouldn’t cost the earth – albeit it one difficult to implement – is a universal set of security standards across the world’s major events venues. Chris Kemp used the example of the NAA’s A-Guide, which allows bands to “come into the country to play knowing the venue should be set up the same way wherever they’re going”.
Kemp called for the creation of one unified document bringing together all the existing security and safety guides – while Sharkey suggested venues could have a star rating, like hotels, so touring artists would know what level of facilities to expect.
A selection of photos from 10 October 2017 are available to view here.