Throughout my years of working in Venue Security, I’ve both learned and experienced quite a bit from a variety of angles.
Starting out, I was one of the guys that didn’t take the job too serious. However, it was while working in the field, I felt my “calling,” and noticed that here was an opportunity for me to grow in the industry and use my position and access to branch out to create a bigger platform for myself. One thing I can say is as it relates to touring, when musical acts come to town, I see them face the same challenges time and again. As such, I thought it might be appropriate to share some insights that may make life a bit smoother for the next individual or team. Below and in no particular order, are a few tips which I believe will assist a touring staff when interacting with venue security:
1: Enlist a member of venue security to be a part of your team for the day
This person doesn’t have to be attached to your hip all night, but they should be your primary go-to person, and point of contact for the day. They should have full building access and keys to unlock all doors. Essentially, this person can help with anything that’s needed from a venue standpoint in a much shorter time than it would take for you to determine who does what and where.
2: Request the backstage venue security not have cell phones on post
Often times backstage venue security are there for an extended period of time, which can cause them to lose focus on the assignment. In this new age of digital and social media, the temptation of having a readily accessible cell phone on post could easily distract them from the task at hand. The no cell phone request, also helps ensure client confidentiality, preventing the staffer who just can’t help themselves from trying to take a quick photo or video of their favorite artist onstage or backstage.
3: At some point offer a “thank you” to venue security
While we know this is an, at times, thankless job, it’s human nature that everyone wants to feel appreciated. A simple “thank you” can go a long way into building a long-lasting working relationship that can pay dividends down the road. Who knows, you might run into some of these people at the same, or perhaps different, location throughout your touring schedule. That lowly staffer could one day be the next security director, and your act of kindliness could produce the keys to the kingdom in the future.
4: Request that backstage venue security has a two way radio to communicate with front of the house security
It’s no secret that a crisis can occur in a split second, and in a venue packed with hundreds or even thousands of people, the impact could be of significant magnitude. As such, if something needs to be quickly communicated from back of the house (backstage area) to front of the house (where the ticketed public is allowed), radio transmissions on the same frequently as the majority of first responders could save you valuable time and energy.
5: Ensure that backstage venue security is familiar with emergency plans
Everything is fine until it isn’t, and in some instances, this could be a matter of life and death in case of an emergency. Although you yourself may have done a Site Advance on the building; it’s nothing like having a knowledgeable person to guide you through the in house emergency plans. You can then incorporate the buildings plan to yours, creating a more comprehensive emergency response.
6: If the opportunity presents itself, have a conversation with house security (outside of the security meeting)
The day of show can be very fast paced and often information from the official security meeting, that is traditionally just conducted with supervisors, isn’t properly communicated to other members of the venue security team. Even when the information is being shared, there is always a chance of a mix up. Making it a part of your standard operating procedure to stop by, or send a member of your touring security staff to the venue security roll-call and just offer a few words and a brief rundown of the plan that is set for the event, gets everyone on the same page.
The Tour Security Venue Security Interface
By: Maurice Eaton
Maurice Eaton is a trained Close Protection Specialist and Security Supervisor for one of the largest multi-purpose venues in the United States.