Phish Merriweather Night 2: Tweezerfest

As soon as we saw the megaphone in Trey’s hand, we knew we were in for something special. Actually, let me back up. As soon as I walked into Jason’s Deli for lunch, hours before the show, and hear[...]

Wicked Knee at The Stone

Last week, toward the end of Billy Martin’s residency at John Zorn’s famed experimental performance space The Stone, I got the chance to see Wicked Knee.  The Stone is small, hot and just about p[...]

Jerry Jam: A Northeast Tribute to Jerry Garcia

In the beautiful rolling hills of Bath, New Hampshire this past weekend, a festival was held on Dodge Farm honoring the life and music of Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead. The 19th annual Jerry Jam[...]

Review: Galactic at Brooklyn Bowl, 7/24/14

This past Thursday night at Brooklyn Bowl, NOLA vibes filled the air as Galactic put on a spectacular show. The funk band was joined by frequent guest singers Maggie Koerner and Corey Glover (Living C[...]

A Well-Weathered Weekend: Phish in Chicago

Phish returned to Northerly Island for their second time this weekend amidst absolutely beautiful weather, contrary to last year’s partly rained-out mess. The venue matched the weather for beauty, t[...]



08/06/13Posted in news by Alexandra Miller


T.S.A. Now Has Power to Patrol Music Festivals?


With all the recent talk of national security, breaches of privacy, and government agency whistle blowers, it's a good question to ask whether or not the hallowed grounds of music festivals are being infiltrated by big brother, as well.

The New York Times published an article August 5th, describing the various  jurisdiction extensions of the Transportation Security Administration, or the T.S.A. You are definitely familiar with some of these task force programs, or VIPRs (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Squads), if you've traveled through airports, Amtrak, or even simply by walking through high traffic and security zones of New York City. Among the squads are T.S.A. officers, Federal Air Marshals, explosives detection specialists, and even behavior detection officers.  Here is a description of just how, when, and where these response squads may be deployed:

"TSA VIPR teams can be deployed at random locations and times in cooperation with local authorities to deter and defeat terrorist activity; or teams may be deployed to provide additional law enforcement or security presence at transportation venues during specific alert periods or in support of special events."

This description comes from a report updated and published by the T.S.A. January 30, 2013. But why only now are we starting to become conscious of the presence of these additional squads, patrols, and task forces? And how did no one notice the inclusion of "in support of special events" in the list of permissible deployment locations? The NY Times alleges that this clause can include special events such as our beloved music festivals!

With little fanfare, the agency best known for airport screenings has vastly expanded its reach to sporting events, music festivals, rodeos, highway weigh stations and train terminals. Not everyone is happy.

But what about private properties, permits, local authorities?  Heck, Camp Bisco has been using the Hell's Angels as security for over a decade!  Nope. Strengthened interagency communication permits the fusion of department task forces.  A.k.a. Don't be surprised if a few uninvited guests show up to the party.

"There is usually a specially trained undercover plainclothes member who monitors crowds for suspicious behavior." -Kimberly F. Thompson, T.S.A. spokeswoman

Does anyone remember The Festival of Gnarnia, which incidentally took place this very week in August of 2012 in North Carolina?  Due to the fact patrons were permitted to bring their own alcohol onto festival grounds, officers from a state-specific task force, known as the Alcohol Law Enforcement, had free rein to enter the gates and subsequently arrest over 100 attendees (not to mention the myriad undercovers).  We're not saying festivals should be an anarchic bubble, free of any security whatsoever, but when so many different federal, state, and local departments are blended, where do we draw the line of jurisdiction?  How does each respective organization define probable cause when they're all searching for different things?

“The problem with T.S.A. stopping and searching people in public places outside the airport is that there are no real legal standards, or probable cause,” -Khaliah Barnes, administrative law counsel,Electronic Privacy Information Center,Washington.

According the Huffinton Post, "the recent round of serious al Qaeda threats led Chicago officials to make changes to this past weekend's security at Lollapalooza." Regarding Lollapalooza ABC News States:

"We ramped up the bag searches to insure that everybody was getting searched with the bags coming in and out. I don't even know what the total number of bag searches was, but it was overwhelming," said Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

McCarthy says there were more undercover officers in the crowd and bomb dogs on the perimeter-brought in once Chicago police were told of the terror plot, "it was going to be big and strategically significant."

The world is constantly changing and there are always new threats  to our security and responses by law enforcement to protect it.  As the music festival scene continues to grow, it will unfortunately  have to adapt to this scary world in which we live, but that does not mean transforming them, or anywhere for that matter, into a police state.


Related


Comments



Ray LaMontagne Has Meltdown Over Talking Fans, Refuses to Continue Until They Leave

Things got a little awkward for the sold-out crowd at a Ray LaMontagne concert at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Wednesday night. In the middle of his set, Ray LaMontagne called [...]

Mass Casualty Incident Declared At Tonight’s Avicii Concert In Boston

Update 6/26, 9:41 AM: According to the Boston Globe, 36 people were transported from the Avicii concert at TD Garden and treated for alcohol and drug-related concerns, and another 50 people were treat [...]

The Hudson Project Cancels Last Day As Weather Conditions Deteriorate, People Are Still Stranded

It has been almost 24 hours since The Hudson Project announced that it was evacuating its venue and campgrounds and festival attendees are still stuck trying to get out of the area.  Around 4:00pm [...]

Someone Broke Into The Grammys, Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Glastonbury... and He's Making A Movie

Marcus Haney describes his documentary No Camera's Allowed as "a love letter written to these festivals." This twenty-something year old began his journey after sneaking into Coachella, and has ne [...]

The Muddy Truth About The Hudson Project

Many of you have heard horror stories regarding this past weekend’s inaugural Hudson Project music festival at Winston Farm in Saugerties, NY. Whether discussing awful security execution, bad weathe [...]

Bonnaroo: North America's Best Music Festival?

Over the years Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival has undoubtedly earned its place as one of the premier music festivals in the country, and with good reason. Since its inception over thirteen years ago [...]

Electric Forest: A Magical Musical Wacky Wonderland

Despite the mass influx of festivals in recent years, Electric Forest remains one of the most special and unique ones out there. Sherwood Forest is a magical oasis filled with something for absolutely [...]

Phish Randall's Island Night 3: Never Miss A Sunday Show

The old adage always rings true: never miss a Sunday show. Despite the fear of rain, Phish phans flocked to Randall's Island for the third night of the band's three show run. After rocking the first [...]

10 Magnificent Things You Will Only Find Inside Electric Forest!

Electric Forest is a music and arts festival like no other. With unimaginable production and things to stimulate all senses, one might find it hard to put this festival into words. These are just a fe [...]

10 Things You Didn't Know About Jesus From Lettuce

Erick “Jesus” Coomes is a man of many talents. You may know him as the highly skilled bassist of acclaimed funk outfit Lettuce, or for his lovable goofball antics on and off stage. However, there [...]

Post-Phish Jimi Hendrix Tribute w/ Roosevelt Collier, Adam Deitch, Jennifer Hartswick, More 7.13!

On July 13th at BB King Blues Club in NYC, Live for Live Music has put together an all-star ensemble to perform a Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsys Tribute Set after Phish plays their final Randall's Island [...]

Lettuce, Exmag, and M!NT at NYC's Le Poisson Rouge Thursday, July 10th!

Live for Live Music is excited to bring you an intimate Official Hudson Project Pre-Party with Lettuce on Thursday, July 10th at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City (purchase tickets here). Lettuce isn [...]


Help out Live For Live Music as a writer, photographer, or as a member of our street team for the chance to win awesome perks!