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Sportpaleis rolls out heavy security measures at Ariana Grande concert

11:57 30/08/2019

One of Belgium’s largest concert venues, Sportpaleis in Antwerp, is taking unprecedented measures to ensure the safety of both Ariana Grande and the thousands of fans expected to show up to her concert this evening.

The US pop singer’s former concert in Belgium, scheduled for May of 2017, was cancelled after a terrorist attack at her Manchester concert in the UK the day before. The attack left 22 people dead and injured 59 people.

Sportpaleis security adviser Peter Dobbels told VRT NWS that the 26-year-old singer’s entourage had requested that only fans with fully transparent bags be allowed into the venue. This means that only concertgoers with 100% clear clutch bags, fanny packs and freezer bags will be admitted entry. Visitors with back packs or any kind of non-transparent bag will be asked to leave them in lockers at an improvise site close to the venue.

The transparent-handbag policy did not follow from particular security concerns related to the Antwerp venue or Belgian audiences. It has been enforced at every European leg of Ariana Grande’s “Sweetener” world tour, Dobbels said.

Still, Dobbels pointed out that Sportpaleis too had tightened its security measures following various terror attacks in Belgium and neighbouring countries in recent years. “Our general security measures have gotten more and more strict due to the succession of attacks in Western Europe and since the events at the Bataclan concert venue in Paris,” he said. “And we don’t plan on revising them any time soon,” he said.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Written by Linda A. Thompson