A Festival Security Expert Weighs in on Heightened Security Post-Paris Attacks

Coachella Atmosphere
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella

Music fans attend day 1 of the 2015 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (Weekend 1) at the Empire Polo Club on April 10, 2015 in Indio, Calif.

Frank Keller is founder and president/CEO of Kel Executive Services -- a full-service security consulting firm with clients that include Bonnaroo, Coachella and San Francisco's Outside Lands.

What is your approach to festival security?
For each event, I customize a plan that may incorporate closed-circuit television, canine patrols, security guards, vehicles, bicycles, towers, drones, helicopters and other technologies. Plans are tailored for the site, genre and crowd size.

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Has the U.S. festival boom made fans better prepared?
They're definitely savvier. In the old days, fans would show up with a toothbrush and, maybe, a rain poncho. Now there's a wide range of gear -- and the mobile phone has changed everything.

How has the Bataclan attack in Paris affected festival security?
Sept. 11 ushered in more intense partnerships between private security and public law enforcement. We also encourage the "see something, say something" mantra.

This story originally appeared in the April 16 issue of Billboard.


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