Coachella ramps up security in the wake of mass shootings
The drones are part of ramped up security measures alongside more armed guards as the US music and arts festival guards against an attack in the wake of the Route 91 Harvest music festival mass shooting in October last year.
In a report by the Desert Sun, Paul Tollett, president and CEO of the festival’s organiser Goldenvoice, says a planned increase in security is “just a part of safety.”
“There are more people at the show, so, it’s a higher profile,” he said. Around 250,000 people are expected at the festival this month, which is being held at two Indio polo clubs.
Indio police say they are planning for every contingency, with public information officer Sgt. Dan Marshall saying they want people to know that they’re safe. Goldenvoice is using a third party drone service which will be at the disposal of the Indio police.
“We don’t know if this is the type of event that lends itself to [drones],” said Marshall. “We have to follow all rules. We can’t over-fly cars, we can’t over-fly crowds, we can’t do any of that stuff unless we deem that it’s a public safety issue. Then we could make that happen. We’re really this year going to see what their use is at this type of event.”
Speaking at the recent XLIVE conference, Ashour Ebrahim, director of health and safety for AEG Presents, Goldenvoice’s partner in Coachella, said security cannot be a one size fits all approach.
“Every festival, we look at their security plans and, if there’s a best practice, we adopt it,” he said.
“It takes all security professionals to work together with federal, state and local partners, private sector security companies. How are we going to try to prevent these [mass shooting] events from happening? That takes a lot of proper planning in order to see what the needs are.”