What the future holds for music festivals

LOS ANGELES — Covering massive gigs and festivals, Brian Garris can do it in his sleep.

He’s been covering the entertainment industry for 25 years for local radio, and in those two-plus decades he’s seen it change.

What do you want to know

  • The Coachella Music and Arts Festival is scheduled for April 2022
  • Reports say Travis Scott is no longer performing at Coachella
  • It comes as Scott faces lawsuits after his deadly Astroworld gig in Houston
  • Ten people died of asphyxiation by compression after a crowd surge at Astroworld

“I watch the shows on the side, so God forbid anything to happen,” he said.

Garris said organizers need to be more prepared than ever for large-scale concerts and festivals, which may not be so difficult given how the live entertainment industry has been able to pivot up to here.

Security increased after the Route 91 shooting in Las Vegas, such as the implementation of exit strategies at concerts, even the introduction of surveillance drones during the 19th edition of Coachella in 2019, the first major festival to take place in the United States after the Vegas shooting.

Some sites have even banned bags. Now, significant protocols are in place to fight the pandemic – with entire teams dedicated to checking the vaccination status of tens of thousands of people at sites.

After the Astroworld festival tragedy in Houston, many are talking about safety at future festivals and what else needs to change.

More than a month ago, Los Angeles native Lucas Naccarati starred on Travis Scott’s hit ‘Escape Plan’, but watching videos and pictures of Astroworld on his phone still haunts him.

“You can see the pain on this kid’s face here,” he said. “I could have been the one dying. Because right after that, I almost died.”

Lucas survived the deadly wave of the Astroworld Music Festival in Texas. He remembers when headliner Travis Scott took the stage and the ensuing chaos with 50,000 people packed in.

The mosh pits and the adrenaline-inducing atmosphere are very characteristic of this kind of concerts. First, Garris said festivals need more structure and more scores and divisions with the general admission crowd to avoid sardine-like groups.

Garris said another potential threat to watch out for is the trampling of people in massive crowds. He said the topic should be part of the discourse of these live entertainment companies.

“Music itself has evolved over the years. Venues have to evolve too. Maybe you do a little background check on some of the artists that you bring into these venues, like it’s really worth it? ” he said.

Garris knows the music, he knows Coachella and he knows what needs to change.

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