After ISIS bombed an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, this week, many music fans are asking whether it’s still safe to go to concerts. Stadiums, arenas, and other music venues almost universally now employ metal detectors, bag inspections, and highly visible security and police personnel. Wes Westley, CEO of the company that manages the Manchester Area, told The New York Times security was tight at the venue before the bombing.
“It was hard to get it any tighter,” he said, “We wouldn’t let people in the building.”
But terrorists don’t need to get inside the building to cause substantial damage. The explosion at the Manchester Arena took place in a vestibule outside the entrance. In December, terrorists killed 29 people with a bomb outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul, and last March’s bombing in Brussels targeted the airport’s public check-in area.
After the Manchester attack, Grande suspended her European tour until June 7, canceling two planned concerts in London. Fears about concert-goers’ safety also threaten to undermine the workings of the music business. As album sales have declined with the advent of internet streaming, artists rely heavily on tours to make up the revenue. The ISIS campaign against so-called “soft targets”—public gathering places—has put fans and artists in a tough spot with few clear answers. —L.L.