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Live music industry comments on Manchester Arena attack

By | Published on Wednesday 24 May 2017

Manchester Arena

As more information emerged yesterday about the bomb attack on the Manchester Arena on Monday night, representatives of the UK live industry expressed their shock and sadness over the incident. They also sought to reassure music fans about security at their concerts and festivals, and asked customers to comply with any existing and new security measures.

As previously reported, 22 people were killed by the home made bomb that was detonated in the foyer of the Arena at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande show taking place there on Monday evening. A further 59 people were injured and taken to hospital. Because of Grande’s young fanbase, a significant number of children and teenagers were caught up in the incident, with twelve of the 59 injured under the age of sixteen. Children were also among those who died, some of whom have now been named.

The bomber has been identified by police as a 22 year old man who was born in Manchester and studied at the city’s Salford University. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said that he was known to security services before the attack, and had probably not acted alone in planning Monday’s bombing. The UK’s international terrorism threat level has now been raised to ‘critical’ as the investigation into Monday’s attack continues.

The live music industry has long known that its venues and events could be targets for those considering terrorist attacks, and even more so since the attack on the Bataclan venue in Paris in November 2015. Security measures are therefore already in place, and even more so at bigger entertainment complexes, though venues and promoters will no doubt be reviewing policies, and consulting with local police forces, in the wake of Monday’s attack.

Commenting yesterday, the Chair of the UK’s Concert Promoters Association, Phil Bowdery, said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by last night’s senseless attack at the Ariana Grande concert. This is heartbreaking news and our thoughts and love are with everyone in Manchester at this time – in particular those that lost their lives or were affected by this devastating incident and their families and friends”.

He continued: “All members of the Concert Promoters Association will continue to work with venues, police, stewarding companies and the relevant authorities and it is our understanding that outside of the Manchester Arena and the Ariana Grande tour, all other planned concerts and events will go ahead, as advertised, unless ticketholders are directly advised to the contrary. Fans should check with venues direct for specific updates”.

Concluding, he said: “In light of this attack on our concert going community, we ask for the support and understanding of our patrons with regard to any security measures which are in place for the safety of the public, and urge everyone to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour. Our deepest sympathies and condolences are with all those affected by this horrific incident”.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Association Of Independent Festivals said: “Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with all those affected by the horrific incident following the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester last night. In the aftermath of this dreadful attack, audiences attending festivals this season may understandably have some concerns. We must emphasise the excellent security record of festivals in the UK. AIF members are experts in organising safe and secure events for between 800 and 60,000 people and a highly effective private security industry has developed around our events”.

They went on: “In addition, organisers have a constant dialogue with law enforcement and other relevant agencies at a local, regional and national levels and there is increasingly more intelligence sharing between these agencies and organisers through initiatives such as Operation Gothic and the Project Argus training events. Security measures at festivals are reviewed constantly and the top priority of festival and concert promoters is always the safety and security of audiences. If additional measures need to be introduced at festivals, we are confident that they will be”.

A handful of concerts around the UK were cancelled in the wake of Monday’s attack, in part out of respect for the victims, though moving forward many promoters and artists have expressed a commitment to ensure that as many shows as possible go ahead unless police advise otherwise.

That includes this weekend’s three city Dot To Dot Festival, which is due to take place in Manchester on Friday. Organisers said yesterday: “We are shocked and saddened by the terrible tragedy in Manchester. Our thoughts go out to all those affected. From ongoing discussions with venues and relevant authorities, and in solidarity with the resilience of the amazing people of Manchester and the power of live music, Dot To Dot Festival will be going ahead this Friday”.

They continued: “Dot To Dot is a festival about bringing people together and enjoying a day out watching live music. We have taken stock and thought deeply about whether it’s appropriate for us to go ahead in the light of what’s happened – and we have decided we will hold the event. We can’t forget what’s happened, but we don’t want to let fear and hate stop us. In relation to security at venues, Dot To Dot will continue to work closely with all venues and relevant authorities to ensure the safety of all our visitors”.