The idea that an experience as pure and carefree as attending a concert could be shaken by the unforgiving atrocities of terrorists of any kind is a sickening notion, and just yesterday (May 22) that notion was felt all over again in Manchester.
According to the latest reports, two suicide bombs were detonated outside the Manchester venue where Ariana Grande was performing, killing 22 and injuring dozens more. While the world collectively reels over yet another terrorist attack at a concert, those in the entertainment industry are once again seeing their worst nightmare realized.
Drake, who frequently tours Europe and has built quite a relationship with his UK-based peers specifically, took to his Instagram early this morning (May 23) to explain that what happened in Manchester was a very “real fear” for him and his team during the course of his most recent European stint.
Drake’s comments aren’t just kind words of empathy, but rather, they point to the very real dread that a large number of artists and fans have experienced over the past few years.
I recently watched the Eagles of Death Metal HBO documentary Nos Amis, chronicling the horrendous terrorist attack that took place during their show in Paris in November of 2015, leaving 90 dead and hundreds more scarred both mentally and physically. Having seen the effect that this attack had on the artists themselves—the fear of playing again, the feeling of responsibility, the “survivor’s guilt”—I know that Drake is in no way embellishing when discussing this fear. It’s a fear likely shared by every artist touring abroad, one of those “back of your mind” fears that never fully leaves no matter how many security checkpoints or police officers are present.
While the impact this latest attack will have on acts looking to tour in Europe is so nuanced it’s likely going to require a separate piece, suffice it to say that artists like Drake who have amassed large, dedicated fan bases overseas are seriously re-thinking their strategies for addressing those fans in a live setting.
Life is fragile, and music has been one of the greatest tools developed by humans to cope with that fragility. It’s absolutely crushing that people can no longer see their favorite artists live without—on some level—fearing for their safety.
As both a contributor to and a fan of musical culture, I have to believe we can persist through the hatred and fear and continue to use music as the unique, amazing, unifying and healing tool that it is.