News

All hands on deck for next Shoreline concert

It was supposed to be a calm classic rock show at Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 30, but instead the concert was plagued with fights, including ongoing brawls and six stabbings. In response, police say, they will be stepping up safety precautions for a June 26 concert featuring Ice Cube and seven other rap artists.

Police say half of the city's 98-officer police force is expected to report to work at the "Wild 94.9 Bomb" concert just in case security guards are again overwhelmed by violent concertgoers.

The Wild 94.9 Bomb concert has not been a problem in years past. But it has the potential to be a problem, said police spokesperson Liz Wylie.

"Given the fact it's been a rough year at Shoreline, we decided to staff this one at full force," Wylie said.

On the Voice's online Town Square forum, attendees of the May 30 Kiss FM Old School Fiesta concert, which featured the band War, were fuming about the violent atmosphere they witnessed at the concert. Many said they wanted police to take control of the situation.

The city's Police Department usually patrols the area outside the event while hired security guards patrol the inside. Wylie called the violence on May 30 a "freak incident," possibly caused by gang members intent on causing trouble.

"We've had this arrangement for 20 years -- we've never had to go inside," Wylie said. She added that police officers cannot run into the amphitheatre's lawn area on a moment's notice, as many would have liked. For one, police radios don't work because of the noise, so officers can't ask for help if something goes wrong.

"We have to send teams of people," Wylie said. "There's a whole bunch of issues. It's not just as simple as 'run inside.' Nobody expects a firefighter to run into a burning fire without his buddies and a proper plan."

Wylie also said the presence of police can sometimes escalate a situation that would otherwise be resolved peacefully by security guards. Nevertheless, in the wake of the May 30 show, many said they would like to see a police presence inside the venue during certain concerts.

Wylie warned that the city's small police force would have a hard time finding enough officers. By comparison, she said, San Jose sends 170 officers to the HP Pavilion, which seats only 19,190 people, while Mountain View employs 98 sworn officers at Shoreline Amphitheatre, which seats 22,000.

People have asked, "Why not just shut (the concert) down?" Wylie said. "If we had to we could. In 20 years we never had to shut a concert down early."

The May 30 show was shut down 15 minutes early by Amphitheatre staff. By then, six people had been stabbed and fights had been occurring sporadically for hours, according to police and concertgoers. The venue reportedly stopped serving alcohol at 8:30 p.m.

Police still have no suspects in the stabbings, and said the victims' injuries were not serious or life-threatening.

In light of the stabbings, some of the May 30 attendees have called for metal detectors and weapons searches during certain shows. The city could make such measures a requirement, according the lease agreement for the city-owned venue, which was modified after a 2005 murder following a KMEL Summer Jam concert, among other incidents.

"I'm not certain everyone wants to go to through a metal detector at every concert," said council member Mike Kasperzak. "And I'm not sure the community wants to impose that."

The amphitheater's operator, Live Nation, will have to foot the bill for the added security measures on June 26, including an hourly overtime rate for police. It is a cost which will likely be passed on to concertgoers in the form of higher ticket prices, Kasperzak said.

In recent years, city attorney Michael Martello said, Live Nation has been cooperative and thorough in creating security plans before each show.

"For years they've been cooperating with us," he said, adding that the amphitheater's operators have used a variety of security measures, including undercover agents, strike teams, metal detectors and cutting off the sale of alcohol.

"They have the ability to do anything they need to do to make staff, the community and patrons feel safe," Martello said.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by INTERESTED
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 9, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I certanly hope it's not the new recruits, cadets, safety officers they send in. It's not their fault things went crazy instead of sending in the senior PD they threw these kids in to 'handle' things - talk about throwing them in the fire - they were like sitting ducks there. I hope this doesn't dissuade them from being officers but what a way to start off - despicable.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Alicia Crank
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 9, 2009 at 1:44 pm

My hope is that certain concert genres/audiences will not be labeled unfairly. Security should be adequate at all concerts, not just ones that may be labeled "high risk". I've been to several hip hop/rap concerts at Shoreline, and haven't witnessed any major problems, at least no more than when I've attended others there.

Violence can happen anywhere and in any venue. Keep it all in perspective.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by i agree
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I agree Alicia, i've been to other concerts where they search you
up and down and for some reason it wasn't done at this one concert.
It was like Shoreline wanted something to happen, they didn't care
who came in carrying what.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by 0to60in3
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Yeeeaaa, that's the ticket -- Shoreline "wanted something to happen"...?! That's ridiculous! And, I'm sure a brawl at a concert isn't the worst thing a cadet/new recruit is going to have to deal with. If they can't handle that - they're not in the right job to begin with. If 'some concerts' demand more security...it is what it is. Just be thankful they're there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV concert goer
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 9, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Are you serious? I know several people that work at Shoreline. It is never their desire to have something like this happen. They do their best to prevent unwanted items coming in. They typically do not do body searches anymore, (I know because I was just at a concert a few weeks ago and attended a few last year, but in light of this situation, maybe they should reinstate searches. The staff did the best they could to control this situation but were out numbered and concerned for their own safety. Most of the people causing the problems were "herded" outside the venue, where by the way, the majority of the serious violence occurred. Frankly, because of the old style music playing I think they were expecting an older, more mellow crowd, not a bunch of gang members coming in with the intent to harm each other. I think the blame is being misplaced. These were not typical concert-goers and it seems clear they were not just there for the music.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pleaaase
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm

This article has 3, yes 3 incorrect dates referred to within it.
Seriously, do you report facts, or just think no one cares? Oh, I think it was May 31st, yeah...
Oh and the next show is either on the 26th or the 29th, who cares...
WRONG- the next show is this weekend.
Pleaaaase correct this shabby article.
AND Wylie is wrong. Cops have been called into that Amphitheatre on NUMEROUS occasions. Liz, check your facts before you speak.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don Frances
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Jun 9, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Don Frances is a registered user.

Dear "Pleaaase":

Thanks -- I think. The incorrect dates have been fixed.

Your outrage is only partly justified. We never said the Wild 94.9 concert was the *next* concert, only that it was the one police were stepping up patrols for. Apparently police don't believe this weekend's event, the "Great American Food and Music Fest," requires extra security.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pleaaaase
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Thanks Dad, but I wouldn't call it "outrage".
The title of the article is "All hands on Deck for NEXT Shoreline concert". There is a concert this weekend.
This is a 'news and community site", isn't it? Well, then the facts should be just that. Facts.

Thanks---I think.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Don Frances
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Jun 9, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Don Frances is a registered user.

My oldest kid's five and a half ... sounds about right.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pleaaase
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Well, then scold your kid at home. Admitting mistakes is the first step in maturity.
Lead by example


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mr. Big
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 10, 2009 at 8:12 am

I'm a long time Mtn. View resident and have been to many shows since Shoreline first opened including rap, rock, hip-hop, and heavy metal shows.

Security has been OK over the years, but it is not capable of handling large numbers of patrons hell bent on causing trouble.

I also have attended hundreds of local sporting events and I have found that uniformed police provide the best security.

Suggestions for providing better security at shoreline:
1) Re-instate body searches at all concerts.
2) Add metal detectors.
3) Hire uniformed police for certain concerts TBD by city and Shoreline staff.
4) Segment the lawn area with portable barricades for certain concerts to help contain any trouble to a smaller section of the lawn.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 10, 2009 at 11:38 am

To Pleaaase:
There is a great book out.... its called "Don't sweat the small stuff". You should read it. If you get this upset over something so trivial, I would hate to see how you handle a REAL crisis!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Free Tix
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 10, 2009 at 2:42 pm

I'm glad the town council continues to receive free tickets to Shoreline events in return for providing "oversight." It appears they're doing a great job.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Free Tix--- are you saying that council members should be there as security guards at every show? Are you saying that this concert is part of a long-standing pattern of trouble at Shoreline? Should the Mayor be positioned on the lawn with the bat phone in case of trouble?

Or are you bitter that volunteer public servants get a teeny little perk?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Not a bad idea! Make councilmembers' attendance mandatory as a condition of their free tickets, and require them to volunteer for security duty.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by cookin-w-gas
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 10, 2009 at 4:41 pm

I got a tip that Bobby Flay might try to bring some knives to the "Great American Food and Music Fest", not sure what gang he's banging with.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rez
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 10, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Wondering if the annual July 4th San Francisco Orchestra concert will be safe.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ?
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Pleaaase, YOU ARE SOO ANNOYING!!!!!!!


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