The Manchester Effect: Inside the Efforts to Keep Concertgoers Safe During the Summer's Biggest Tours
A music insider discusses security measures to keep concertgoers safe in the wake of the Manchester terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert
After 22 people died and another 119 were injured following a terrorist attack at Ariana Grande‘s concert in Manchester, England, on Monday, insiders working on the biggest summer tours are casting a closer eye on security and taking extra steps to keep concertgoers safe.
Police believe suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, detonated an improvised explosive device about 10:33 p.m. local time near the ticket office outside the Manchester Arena as Grande was concluding a concert there. The victims include children and parents waiting to pick up their kids after the show.
A music industry veteran who has worked on a number of tours tells PEOPLE’s sister publication, Entertainment Weekly, the location of the attack is particularly worrisome because it happened outside the venue.
“There’s a zone of security and at some point that ends,” says the source. “This incident happened outside the zone of security, outside the venue. That’s just the question: How far do you extend the zone of security before you’re wanding everyone and patting everyone down? That’s just the thing — you’re not going to get a good answer.”
RELATED VIDEO: Police Chief Constable Confirms 22 Dead at Ariana Grande Manchester Arena Suicide Bombing
In addition to several festivals happening over the Memorial Day Weekend — including BBC’s Radio 1’s annual Big Weekend music festival in Hull, England — there are a number of other high-profile concerts taking place over the summer.
The music industry source tells EW the logistics involved in concert security vary from venue to venue, and bigger stars generally dictate a bigger security presence.
With extremely high-profile names, “you have to coordinate with local police to make sure you have appropriate security in place and to make sure they have the right staff in place. And that’s a question: How do you work with local forces? It’s outside the zone of security — that’s where they coordinate. How do we patrol the area outside of the venue? That’s where it gets tricky.”
“Let’s say this happened in New York City,” the source continued. “They don’t pat you down when you go in the subway; people take the subway after a show. That’s another zone of attack. Where are the weak points in security? That’s why everyone was saying this was such an opportunity for the terrorist — they didn’t go inside.”
Several venues have issued statements about security in the wake of the Manchester attack.
“Madison Square Garden (The Forum) venues has [sic] increased security measures, including a greater police presence, and is continuing to work closely with local law enforcement to ensure we remain informed of any potential concerns,” said the venue in a statement.
From TD Garden Arena in Boston: “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the tragic event in Manchester. TD Garden is working with state and local law enforcement to enhance our already diligent security measures and continue to provide a safe environment at all our events. We are asking our fans, media and staff to allow extra time when arriving due to increased security measures.”
From the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.: “Our fans’ safety is always our top priority and Verizon Center has preventive security measures in place for all events that take place at the arena, including metal detectors. We partner, consult and train with local, regional and federal law enforcement agencies regularly and have a strong law enforcement presence in place both outside and inside during all building events. As with any public gathering, it’s also important for everyone to remain vigilant, so if you see something, say something.”
Meanwhile, representatives for Grande announced Wednesday that she is suspending her tour in the wake of the deadly attack.
“Due to the tragic events in Manchester the Dangerous Woman tour with Ariana Grande has been suspended until we can further assess the situation and pay our proper respects to those lost,” the singer’s management said in a statement to PEOPLE.
“We ask at this time that we all continue to support the city of Manchester and all those families affected by this cowardice and senseless act of violence. Our way of life has once again been threatened but we will overcome this together,” the statement concluded.
Many musicians have been defiant in the wake of the tragedy.
Katy Perry, Lorde, Lana Del Rey, The Chainsmokers, HAIM, Little Mix, Rita Ora and Shawn Mendes are scheduled to take the stage at BBC Radio 1’s annual Big Weekend music festival at the Manchester Arena on Monday – albeit amid heavily increased security.
“No, because we don’t operate in fear,” she said, asserting that any moves otherwise would send the message that “they win.”
She added, “Ariana is my sister, I love her and I love the people of the U.K. and I’m devastated by the news. It’s heartbreaking.”