I’m Having a Really Hard Time With This One Guys
I've been attending concerts since I was 13 years old. My first show was Aerosmith and Cheap Trick in Mansfield, Massachusetts. I wasn't concerned with safety. I didn't keep my eye on the exit in case I needed to make a quick escape. The only risk was getting hit by a rogue bra as the fans behind me threw them to the stage for Steven Tyler.
I'm struggling with the events at Manchester Arena. Any terrorist attack is horrific and scary and shattering. This one hits me hard as an Ariana Grande fan and a frequent concertgoer.
Concerts bring people together who are all fans of the same thing. Everyone in the room has a favorite song, a favorite lyric, a favorite moment in the show that they'll remember for the rest of their lives. This attack changes the lives of the people at that show forever.
Fear is a powerful weapon and I would be lying if I said this attack didn't scare me. I don't want to let them win by letting fear rule me. So I won't stop going to concerts, but I can't help but worry a little more about the crowd. I'll be hyperaware of my surroundings. I'll worry when security doesn't check my bag, because who else walked through the doors without their attention? I'll cast judgement unknowingly on the solo concert attendee in the corner, who may be there for honest reasons, but makes me nervous with no friends around. At this point, I just don't feel like anything is safe anymore.
One thing I can take comfort in during this scary time is that people have rallied to help those impacted by the attack. In the words of Mr. Rodgers and his mother:
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’
One mom turned into super mom at the arena. She took concertgoers who were there without parents or who had been separated from their parents back to the Holiday Inn down the street. She had roughly 50 people with her following the explosion and was posting her phone number on Facebook and Twitter to let parents know they could contact her to check on their kids.
Social media acted fast to help those impacted by the events at the Manchester Arena. The hashtag #roomformanchester was filled with locals offering spare beds and couches to crash on, or just a cup of tea and a safe place to be. Many people were left stranded by this because they traveled from outside of Manchester to see the show. Taxis offered free rides to those trying to get home.
While I'm struggling with this, I will never know the pain or fear those fans are facing or what Ariana Grande must be feeling. I hope they find comfort in the coming days. And I hope that concerts and venues can be a safe place for everyone who finds happiness in live music.
Sending out 10,000 hugs today.