A natural reaction in the hours and days after Sunday's shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, especially if one has tickets to Outside Lands a week from Friday, is to ask how this is going to impact the SF festival — or if it can actually be made any safer.
The possibility of someone cutting through or climbing over a perimeter fence has always been there for the 11-year-old Outside Lands, which is similar in size to the Gilroy festival in terms of festival attendance — OL sees 60,000 to 70,000 people per festival day. And as Redditor lewd_crude_rude_boi says in reply to this post, "I’ve seen people hop the fences at night and get right into the park. I alerted security at the time but you never know if they actually give a shit."
Redditor learhpa adds, "I think it's a fair question whether security is actually about security, or is really simply security theatre designed to make us feel safer without doing anything that actually makes us safer."
Outside Lands has for years had bag-checks and metal detectors at the two entry gates, but the perimeter of the festival is huge, and far more wooded than Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy.
So, is it just an act of faith attending any huge music festival these days? Kind of.
The SFPD gave a statement to ABC 7 that, regarding security at Outside Lands, "Planning is extensive and begins months in advance." The police added that they "take into account incidents that occur around the state, country and world" in doing that planning.
But as USA Today reports, our mass-shooting-happy nation has made for a fairly unique challenge to organizers of large festivals everywhere.
They speak to a security expert from the Pinkerton firm, Jason Porter, who says, "The unique thing about a festival-type environment is the planners have to walk a very fine line. Obviously they’re responsible for providing a secure and safe environment, but they also have to have an open environment to draw the crowd. It’s increasingly a challenge, especially in an outdoor-type event."
Still, by many accounts, the police response on Sunday was stellar, and likely saved many lives. The shooter was killed by law enforcement in about one minute, during which time he killed three people and injured a dozen others — despite being armed with enough firepower to have done much worse.
"Law enforcement, they weren’t good, they were great," said Governor Gavin Newsom in a recent statement. "Law enforcement, the brave. They deserve so much credit. They have your back."
Photo: David Lytle