Wednesday, October 14, 2009

House of Blues Security on the Rampage

Posted By on 10.14.09 at 03:34 PM

I've left a fair number of shows at Chicago's House of Blues after hassles from security guards ruined my night. I've been turned away from shows before I could even get in, based on rules that seem to vary wildly from night to night and guard to guard (at Santogold last September women were being let in with bags but men weren't). Having wasted more than enough time in transit to and from shows I ended up missing while dealing with security, a lot of times I don't bother making the trip.

But at least I've never been physically assaulted by one of the guards (video).

A follow-up post by photographers' rights blogger Carlos Miller contains what claims to be eyewitness testimony saying that the incident, which happened Monday night and involved a security guard and a woman in the driveway area where acts load in and out of the venue. The woman appears to believe the guard took her camera because he thought she was photographing him (though there's nothing illegal about taking pictures in public), and apparently he considered pushing her to the ground an appropriate response when she tried to get it back.

Live Nation confirms the time and place of the confrontation, and that the man doing the pushing is a security guard at the venue. A statement that regional music VP Scott Gelman sent me reads, in its entirety, "An incident occurred on Monday night outside House of Blues involving an individual and a security guard. We take our responsibility to maintain the safety of both our patrons and the artists who play at the House of Blues very seriously. We are looking into the incident and will cooperate fully with the authorities."

The Sun-Times reports that the guard has been arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge. Maybe any security reform the House of Blues institutes should include as one of its goals making sure patrons don't leave swearing it's the last time they'll ever set foot in the place.

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