The Hollywood Bowl (capacity 17,500) is almost completely unprotected against terrorism or lone shooters. Why isn’t anything being done about that?
Before I went to the Hollywood Bowl for a fun night with my girlfriend, she asked me if we should be concerned with the possibility of a violent attack. This was ahead of a 4th of July show, with fireworks and tons of Americans celebrating their patriotism. Seemed like the perfect, high-profile place (in a high-profile city) for a terrorist attack or lone shooter.
Sure enough, a similar event for Bastille Day in the South of France was soon a horrific target for an extremist Islamic attack. That’s like their 4th of July. Meanwhile, music halls and festivals both in France and Europe are finding themselves easy targets for terrorism.
We decided to go. Nothing happened. Everyone had a great time, and the fireworks kicked ass (and so did the music). It was a great time on a beautiful California night.
If something had occurred, I would have blamed myself for going. For months, I’ve been worried about lax and inconsistent security at music venues nationwide, with both small, midsize and large stages at serious risk for terrorist strikes. Crowded venues should be run like airports, not staffed with temporary, lightly trained workers that are briefly checking thousands of bags by hand.
This isn’t just about Live Nation, but they are one of the largest venue operators in the US. And Live Nation’s security seems spotty at best. I can’t say I was impressed when a gun battle exploded at Irving Plaza, a midsize venue in Manhattan, between rapper Troy Ave and a bunch of people trying to kill him. That’s a venue operated by, you guessed it, Live Nation.
How did all those guns get inside?
After I went to the Hollywood Bowl, I got an idea how. The Hollywood Bowl allows people — 17,500 of them — to bring in large bags full of food, wine, blankets and whatever else they want, even though that now poses a serious security risk. I brought a large ‘picnic basket’ backpack into the venue, and discovered just how cursory security checks can be.
And I was completely late; there wasn’t even a crowd pressuring me forward.
Hollywood Bowl image by Ian D. Keating, adapted under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).