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French man loses hand in pre-festival clash

Seven people, including five police officers, were injured on Friday night as police broke up an illegal rave in Brittany.

Violent clashes broke out after 400 gendarmes were dispatched to shut down the party, a so-called ‘teknival’ which had been organised in violation of an 11pm curfew, at a racecourse near the commune of Redon on the evening of 18 June.

The rave was held on the eve of the annual Fête de la Musique festival – which takes place in a reduced-capacity format today (21 June) – and was intended to commemorate Steve Maia Caniço, a young man who died after falling into the Loire river during Fête de la Musique in 2019. ‘Justice for Steve’ protesters hold the police responsible for Caniço’s death, which occurred after officers moved in to break up a gathering in Nantes.

Authorities say some partygoers pelted police with molotov cocktails and pieces of breeze block

Local authorities had secured a legal order against the party, which involved as many as 1,500 people. The National Gendarmerie seized equipment including sound systems and generators after dispersing the crowds.

Speaking to AFP, local prefect Emmanuel Berthier describes the “very violent clashes” on 18 June between police and the ravers, who “had an objective: to confront the forces of public order”. Authorities say some partygoers brought metal pétanque balls to the rave, while others pelted police with molotov cocktails and pieces of breeze block.

Two police officers suffered serious enough injuries as to need hospital treatment, while two ravers were also injured – including one man who lost a hand in the violence. Organisers of the rave accuse police of choosing ‘violence instead of dialogue’ after firing tear gas grenades at the gathering.

 


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Wave of illegal concerts sweeps South America

Thousands of South Americans attended illegal, non-socially distanced concerts and parties over the Easter weekend, with authorities making arrests across the continent as national governments continue to battle the coronavirus with varying degrees of success.

South America remains a hotspot for Covid-19 – with high mortality rates in Brazil, Peru, Chile and Paraguay of particular cause for concern – though the recent unlicensed live events suggest some people are beginning to chafe under ongoing restrictions on indoor gatherings.

In the town of Turuku, in Ecuador’s northern Imbabura province, local government officials, national police and the armed forces shut down an unlicensed music festival, Killary Fest, which would have been attended by an estimated 5,000 people.

Despite dismantling the stage and confiscating much of Killary Fest’s equipment, including speakers, authorities returned on the evening of Friday 2 April to “learn that, despite the warnings, the party was starting”, reports El Comercio. When they again moved to shut down the event, police and soldiers were pelted with sticks and stones by revellers.

The incident follows months of parties, concerts and other unlawful events in Ecuador, reports El Comercio.

In Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in Chile, a local election candidate is being held by police after organising a concert in a former hospital, attended by around 100 people.

Brazilian police continue to target illegal parties, which are being blamed for the surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths

In addition to not seeking permission for the event, Juan Pablo Martinez – who is standing in upcoming city council elections – failed to enforce mandatory social distancing and mask wearing at the clandestine concert, according to prosecutor Rina Blanco.

The show “endangered public health, given the number of people in close contact, and who he invited,” Blanco comments.

A music venue in Morón, near Buenos Aires in Argentina, has been shut down for 30 days after video emerged of cumbia singer Pablo Lescano playing to a non-socially distanced audience.

The event, which many have dubbed “el recital covid” (the Covid concert), was harshly criticised by the mayor of Morón, Lucas Ghi, who says organiser Vaprisana “worship[s] mischief, deception and the violation in rules” – comparing the club unfavourably to the honest businesspeople of the city, who “adhere to the norms and protocols required by the pandemic”.

Brazilian police also continue to target illegal parties, which are being blamed for the surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths in South America’s most populous country.

The most recent brought together around 100 people – half of whom were caught not wearing face masks – in the city of Sao Paolo last weekend. According to local press, the three organisers were arrested, while the venue was fined R$190,000 (€28,000).

 


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Article 25: Keep guns out, urge French festivals

French festival associations De Concert! and France Festivals have expressed their concerns about a controversial new security bill that would allow off-duty police and gendarmes to carry their weapons into music festivals, entertainment venues and other places open to the public.

Article 25 of the proposed global security (sécurité globale) law, introduced last October by the incumbent Jean Castex government, would remove the right of so-called public establishments (établissements recevant du public, ERP) to deny entry to police officers or soldiers of National Gendarmery who are carrying guns when they are not on active service.

The bill, which is opposed by many civil liberties groups, also contains several other provisions strengthening police powers, including giving municipal police access to CCTV footage, restricting when police and gendarmes may be filmed by the public, and expanding the use of police drones.

Ahead of the bill reaching the Senate, the two associations – along with six other groups, including the SMA (Union of Contemporary Music), Fedelima (Federation of Contemporary Music Venues) and Profedim (Union of Producers, Festivals, Ensembles and Independent Music Distributors) – have urged politicians to act to keep weapons out of ERPs, which also include concert venues, rehearsal spaces, theatres, cinemas, hotels and restaurants.

“With the adoption of article 25, the presence of weapons within ERP, and therefore cultural places, would be facilitated or even trivialised, and we see a serious danger,” say the eight associations in a statement.

“Our teams are unable to absolutely check the validity of a potentially falsifiable police card”

The associations’ objection is two-fold: First, that anyone posing as a policeman or gendarme could smuggle a gun into a live event, and secondly, that it reduces ordinary concertgoers to second-class citizens not entitled to the same privileges the police would enjoy.

“Our teams and our private security agents are unable to absolutely check the validity of a potentially falsifiable police card,” they continue. “Nothing could be simpler, therefore, for those who would like to commit a mass murder.”

Secondly, the statement adds, “because an undercover police officer who is not on duty is a citizen like any other, and citizens remain free and equal in rights, we see in this difference in treatment as an attack on the founding principles of our Republic.

“Thus, it seems to us that the benefits that the extension of the authorisation to carry weapons within the ERP would represent [pale in comparison] to the heavy risks involved.”

The draft global security law returns to the French parliament next month.

 


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Live music companies back Black Out Tuesday

Live Nation, AEG and all major international booking agencies have declared their solidarity with the African-American community, with widespread planned shutdowns across the business planned for tomorrow. The Black Out Tuesday campaign was launched amid ongoing protests sparked by the death of George Floyd last week.

Using the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused, the shuttering is described as chance to “disconnect from work and reconnect with our community.”



Floyd, a black man, died after being arrested and handcuffed by a white police officer in Powderhorn, Minneapolis, on Monday 25 May. Eyewitness video appears to show the officer, Derek Chauvin, with his knee on Floyd’s neck while Floyd – who had been arrested after a nearby delicatessen reported he had tried to pay with a counterfeit $20 note – lay face down on the ground. Officials say Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes – including for nearly three minutes after he became unresponsive.

Floyd later died in hospital. Chauvin was sacked by the Minneapolis Police Department and is now being charged with both the murder and manslaughter of Floyd.

“We need to stop the racists that are literally killing culture”

The death of Floyd sparked protests in Minneapolis and across the US, well as demonstrations in Canada, Europe, Israel and Japan. In addition to seeking justice for Floyd, many of the protests – which began peacefully but in many cases turned violent – support the wider Black Lives Matter movement, while many of the international demos are also focused on local race-relations issues.

“There are great injustices impacting our brothers and sisters, and we are striving to be part of the solution,” reads a statement from Live Nation. “We need to stop the racists that are literally killing culture. We must take action.”

The company says it has also donated to the Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based nonprofit that provides legal support to prisoners who lack effective legal representation, particularly those of colour.

AEG says it, too “stands with communities of color [sic] against bigotry, racism and violence” and “will not stay silent” on the issue.

“Enough is enough. We’ve seen this. We’ve felt this. We will not be silent,” reads a forceful statement from CAA. “The racial injustice and violence suffered within black communities needs to stop. We will stand up, speak up, and stand alongside our CAA family.”

ICM Partners says it “stand[s] in solidarity with the families of George Floyd” and other slain African Americans “Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery”, and WME with its “black colleagues, clients, partners and allies today and every day.”

Also sending messages of support are UTA, which has prepared a list of companies “taking action nationwide to fight for justice”, and Paradigm Talent Agency, which similarly provides links to the campaign for justice for Floyd, as well as several anti-racist resources.

 

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#BlackoutTuesday #TheShowMustBePaused

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In the recorded music industry, the big three labels – Universal, Warner and Sony Music – have also confirmed their participation in Black Out Tuesday, announcing they will suspend all business operations tomorrow as a statement of solidarity, with some cancelling the scheduled release of all music this week.

The Black Out Tuesday campaign will also be acknowledged by IQ and ILMC, which will suspend all operations for 24 hours.

 


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French biz laments “very partial” Collomb circular annulment

French industry association Prodiss and trade union SMA have deemed the State Council’s recent changes to the controversial Collomb circular as “very partial”, saying they will continue to “defend the sector against the directive”.

Proposed by former interior minister Gérard Collomb in May 2018, the so-called Collomb circular (circulaire Collomb) saw organisers pay the government for the deployment of police at live events, except in the case of terrorist-related incidents.

The idea was met with incredulity across most of the industry, with many citing a drastic increase to security bills as a result.

Under the new changes, organisers no longer have to pay a deposit – equalling 60% to 80% of the total security cost – when agreeing a contract with the state. The annulment also removes a deadline that obliged organisers to complete their payment within a month of an event’s conclusion.

An additional change dictates that an agreement must be signed between organisers and the government in advance of an event, if any law enforcement is to be deployed and billed for.

“Safety is a sovereign matter that should not be dealt with by the organiser of festivals and shows alone”

Although Prodiss and SMA, who took legal action to revoke the circular in 2018, call the partial annulment “a first step against the injustice of the circular”, they state that the key issue of organisers reimbursing the state for security costs has not been called into question.

“Event owners will continue to single handedly bear the costs of all police intervention that is directly associated with their events,” reads a statement from Prodiss and SMA.

“For professionals, safety is a sovereign matter that should not be dealt with by the organisers of festivals and shows alone,” continues the statement. “Our organisations will continue to fight to defend the sector against this directive that weakens its entire cultural and artistic ecosystem.”

The changes to the circular come following the French government’s creation of a new decree last year, which provided funding for security enforcement at live events. The law failed to appease Prodiss and SMA, with event organisers only being spared costs in the case of “exceptional circumstances”.

Photo: Arthur Empereur/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) (cropped)

 


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Strip searches at SITG may be “unjustifiable”

A public inquiry into police conduct at last year’s Splendour in the Grass festival in Australia has found that 143 strip searches were carried out over the three-day event, including on seven minors.

According to the inquiry, illegal items were found on 12 of the 143 who were strip searched.

The New South Wales Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) opened the four-day inquiry to investigate the potentially unlawful strip search of a 16-year-old girl at the 2018 festival.

Police regulations in NSW state that a parent, guardian or support person must be present whenever an individual under the age of 18 is strip searched.

The inquiry found that the girl was one of six minors to be strip searched at the festival without a parent, guardian, or other supervising adult present.

It was also revealed that staff including shopkeepers and bar workers were also strip searched at the event. None were found with illegal items.

According to the inquiry, illegal items were found on 12 of the 143 who were strip-searched

Under NSW law, police can only carry out field strip searches if the “urgency and seriousness of the situation requires it”.

When questioned at the inquiry, a senior constable who performed 19 such searches at Splendour in the Grass said they could not “think of any” circumstance which would necessitate a strip search at a music festival.

Splendour in the Grass promoter Secret Sounds tells IQ that the team is “learning of these searches along with the general public”. The promoter is unable to comment further as the inquiry is ongoing.

The New South Wales festival celebrated record ticket sales for its 2019 event, which took place from 19 to 21 July at its site in North Byron Bay Parklands with performances from Tame Impala, Childish Gambino and the Lumineers.

Splendour in the Grass and fellow Secret Sounds-promoted festival Falls are part of a coalition of events threatening to leave NSW, after the government reintroduced “unworkable” festival legislation.

 


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Counter-terrorism police issue safety advice for festivalgoers

The UK’s National Counter Terrorism Policing Network has issued safety information to  festivalgoers as part of a new, UK Music-backed social-media campaign, #BeSafeBeSound.

While there is no intelligence to indicate an increased threat to festivals and live music events, the Metropolitan police’s deputy assistant commissioner, Lucy D’Orsi, says she wants the public to familiarise themselves with the #BeSafeBeSound checklist so they can play their part in keeping people safe this summer.

Additionally, police will release a series on videos on social media “encouraging festival-goers to have an amazing time, but to report anything suspicious, however small.”

“There are some huge festivals taking place in the coming months, and we want everyone to have a fantastic time,” says D’Orsi, who gave the welcome address at the second Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S) last October. “Whilst we want everyone to have fun watching their favourite artists, people’s safety and security remains the top priority for police and festival organisers.

“The purpose of #BeSafeBeSound is to ensure that everyone attending these events knows they have an important role to play in the wider security operation. Everyone can help make events safe and secure by familiarising themselves with the #BeSafeBeSound advice, by reading our Run, Hide, Tell guidance and to be ready to act if they spot suspicious behaviour and activity.

“I would urge everyone attending events this summer to stay alert and follow the #BeSafeBeSound advice”

“Don’t think you might be wasting anyone’s time – it is always better to be safe than sorry. If something doesn’t look or feel right it probably isn’t, so tell someone.”

Counter Terrorism Policing’s key advice includes:

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher comments: “While it’s important to stress that there is no evidence of any increased threat to live music events this summer, it’s sensible that we all stay vigilant and follow advice.

“Festivals and live music gigs in the UK are amongst the best attended in the world and have rightly earned their reputation as well-organised events where nothing is more important than the safety of music fans.

“I would urge everyone attending events this summer to stay alert and follow the #BeSafeBeSound advice from the police to make sure everyone has a fantastic time in a safe and secure environment.”

More information can be found at www.counterterrorism.police.uk/safetyadvice.

 


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French biz pushes back against controversial ‘Collomb circular’

French industry associations Prodiss and SMA have initiated legal action to annul the so-called ‘Collomb circular’ (circulaire Collomb), the controversial document that revealed plans to force live events to reimburse the government for the cost of policing.

The proposals, authored by interior minister Gerard Collomb, would see festivals billed for the cost of deploying police and gendarmes for anything other than terror-related incidents – an expense previously borne by the state.

The idea was met with incredulity across most of the industry: the Eurockéennes festival, for example, claimed the plans would see its security bill rise nearly 800%, from €30,000 to €254,000.

In protest, live music association Prodiss and the Syndicat des Musiques Actuelles (SMA), a music-industry trade union, have lodged an appeal with the French court of first instance, the Administrative Tribunal, seeking a reversal of Collomb’s proposals, which SMA claims would “endanger the sustainability of cultural events” by burdening them with “significant” new costs.

“Safety and security are a priority … but it is everyone’s business”

“This circular presented show organisers with a fait accompli,” according to a statement from Prodiss, “even as a consultation was in progress between the government and [event] professionals. None of the feedback from the professionals was taken into account in this decision.

“It is inconceivable that this decision was made without having previously measured the impact on the sector.”

The extra financial burden would be particularly acute as a result of the phasing out of the Emergency Fund for Live Entertainment, instituted following the Bataclan attacks in 2015, which expires at the end of this year, adds SMA.

“Safety and security are a priority; we owe it to our audiences,” comments Malika Séguineau (pictured), CEO of Prodiss. “But it is everyone’s business, and cannot be solely the responsibility of organisers of festivals and shows.”

 


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E3S 2018: Collaboration key to securing the industry’s future

The Manchester Arena bombing of 22 May 2017 was a “game-changer” from a counter-terrorism perspective, laying bare the importance of a strong private security presence to combat the growing threat to ‘soft’ targets such as concerts, said Metropolitan police commander Lucy D’Orsi, opening the second edition of the Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S) on 30 October.

The Met’s deputy assistant commissioner in specialist operations gave a 15-minute welcome address in which she said the Manchester attack – along with the vehicle ramming attacks in Westminster and on London Bridge in March and June 2017, respectively – proved that “anything is potentially a target; anything is possible”.

D’Orsi’s address kicked off a packed day of panels, presentations and workshops for the sophomore E3S, which boasted more than double the content of last year’s debut event. More than 300 professionals from 20 markets attended the day.

Other highlights included a speech by Lord Kerslake, author of the eponymous inquiry into the Manchester Arena attack, who presented the key findings and recommendations of his report; panel sessions on ‘Protecting the Future of Live Events’, which examined what initiatives are helping develop an international safety culture, and ‘Learning Transferrable Lessons’, which considered operations from the World Cup to state visits by US presidents to learn lessons from each scenario; and a host of talks and workshops covering security training, emergency messaging, behavioural detection, lockdown procedures and more.

Lord Kerslake described the Manchester Arena bombing – the deadliest terrorist attack in the UK since the 7/7 bombings of 2005 – as a “brutal, real-world test” of the venue’s security procedures.

The Manchester Arena bombing was a “brutal, real-world test” of the venue’s security procedures

He identified four key lessons event organisers and venues should learn from the tragedy: That his review, commissioned by mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham, was “the right thing to do, and should become standard practice in future”; that “importance of partnerships” between stakeholders, as well as thorough emergency planning, “cannot be overstated”; that a “genuinely multi-agency approach” is needed in case of emergency (“even in strong partnerships, the tendency of agencies under pressure to default to a single-agency way of working is extremely strong,” he explained); and that however good those plans are, “the reality will be different. There is no substitution for good situational awareness and discretion.”

As terrible as the attack was, Lord Kerslake concluded, had it taken place ten minutes later – when more young fans were exiting the arena – the outcome would have even worse. “We cannot afford to be complacent,” he said.

A key theme of the E3S 2018 was the importance of openness among stakeholders and the ability – and will – to share crucial information.

The O2 head of operations Danielle Kennedy-Clark said the live events industry needs to get better at sharing data with each other. “As a venue,” she commented, “we have a very close relationship with local authorities and other stakeholders […] but I do still feel a lot of the time security is seen as a big secret. We’re getting better but there’s still a long way to come.”

Tony Duncan, who works as tour security director for artists including U2, Madonna, Rihanna and Sir Paul McCartney, said the events security landscape is currently “fractured at best”, tending to “react to big events”. The industry could, he suggested, benefit from “formalis[ing] procedures across the board”.

“A lot of the time security is seen as a big secret”

One popular presentation at E3S was a preview of the new Green Guide, given by Ken Scott of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority. Scott also spoke about how his organisation, formerly the Football Licensing Authority, was formed after the Hillsborough disaster to “sit over the top of all those competing commercial entities [football clubs] and take the best bits of each, which you [the entertainment industry] don’t have”. “Maybe you need something similar,” he said.

The SEC’s Jeanette Roberts, a former inspector for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), suggested there could be an HSE-style government agency to set security standards industry wide. With HSE, she explained, “what they did was reach out to the industry for their knowledge – it was a brave step for the agency to go and say, ‘We need your help’.”

From a police perspective, D’Orsi concluded by saying it’s a long-term police goal to share as much information on threats as possible with venues and private security companies. Addressing delegates, she said: “Many of you represent iconic locations and events which are often broadcast live – and if you look at the propaganda put out by ISIL [Islamic State], Al-Qaeda and other groups, you are attractive targets.

“There will be less policing at live events in future – but the ambition to share as much as we can with you is very strong, and I’m confident we will achieve that.”

 


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No police at Dutch fests as ‘overworked’ officers go on strike

There will be no police presence at this weekend’s Decibel Outdoor festival in Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands, amid a row between police union ACP and the Dutch government over pay and working conditions.

Unless there is a “serious disruption of public order”, police will steer clear of the EDM festival – which is expected to be attended by more than 70,000 people over 17–19 August – in protest at what the leading trade union calls an “enormous amount of work that can no longer be dealt with”.

“We cannot keep up with the increase in the number of events, and our work [at festivals] is no longer in proportion to other tasks,” says an ACP spokesperson. “This year alone, there are nearly 1,000 festivals which, almost without exception, demand police deployment. This places a huge strain on the force in the present circumstances.”

A social-media campaign, #nuldecibel, aims to raise awareness of the reasons behind the boycott. Zeeland–West Brabant police usually send around 300 officers to the festival, says ACP.

“We cannot keep up with the increase in the number of events”

According to local media, talks between the unions and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Justice and Security have been deadlocked for months, following the former’s rejection of a 7% pay rise earlier this summer. Outside of festivals, police have protested by  or 

ACP says that while its actions to this point have been “public-friendly”, it has taken the decision to switch to those with “social consequences”, such as the Decibel Outdoor boycott, as a result of the stalled negotiations. “Politicians and citizens must be aware that it can not go on like this,” says the spokesperson.

French festival promoters last month reacted with fury after a leaked memo revealed government plans to begin charging for police at their events.

 


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