The owners of The Bataclan concert hall in Paris have vowed to re-open the venue in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, in New York, at a Billboard Magazine conference on touring in the music industry, there was a session about safety and security that included representatives from the Department of Homeland Security.
Safety is clearly — and understandably — on the minds of business owners of all sorts. In Southern California, that includes the owners of the many music venues — large and small — who operate clubs and concert halls.
Mitch Edelson and his father operate several venues in Los Angeles, including El Cid and Club Los Globos in Silver Lake. He spoke with The Frame's Oscar Garza about how his venues will respond to concert venue security after the Paris attacks.
You and your family own a few venues in L.A. In fact, you just bought another — the former Jewel's Catch One in Mid-City. What kind of conversations has your family had about security at your venue since last Friday?
Safety has always been our number one concern — next to providing a good experience to our customers, but a safe experience as well. We're trying to be more vigilant than ever. All of our security are well trained. A lot of them are people who work at the Staples Center, so they do have very good training. We do metal detecting sometimes, bag checks all the time, just some kind of profiling. You know, if someone's coming in in the middle of June and it's 90 degrees and they're wearing a big coat, that raises a red flag.
Do you contract to private firms for security?
No, it's all an in-house crew.
Was last Friday sort of an Oh my God moment that will change everything?
Something that hit really close to home was that Jesse [Hughes] from Eagles of Death Metal, his band, Boots Electric, has played Los Globos. It's an L.A. band. We know a lot of the same people. So it hits really close to home when you hear that this is a band that you know whose concert is being attacked.
Did it make you rethink at all what you're currently doing at your venues in terms of security?
In a way, I guess. It does bring the reality to the front of your mind that this is something that can happen. That venue, The Bataclan, is in a neighborhood very much like Silver Lake, like Los Globos. It's very much like the corner of Sunset and Silver Lake. My family is Jewish. I know they targeted that night club because it was formerly owned by Jewish people and they had pro-Zionist events there. So it's definitely something that we think about.
Do you think that heightening concert security is even a necessary response to what happened last week? It sounds like you have a pretty solid plan in place at your venues, but do you expect that other club owners are rethinking what they do?
Terrorist attacks have happened in nightclubs in the past. This is not something that just happened this year. It's happened in London, Bali and Israel. I think that terrorists look at nightclubs as a hedonistic den for their enemies, and I think it makes it a target for them. So I think that is a part of owning a nightclub, and there is inherent danger in nightclubs when you add liquor, people coming together and a crowd mentality. But it's an ongoing conversation and it's something we try to keep our eye on.