38 people in Belgium looked at the lineup for this year’s Tomorrowland festival on whatever the Belgian equivalent of Tone Deaf is (or the Belgian equivalent of The BRAG if they are the type to pick up street press – okay, I will stop) — and those 38 people all decided to buy a ticket. Alas, they were denied for “security reasons”.
As Billboard points out, article 12 of the small print states “all visitors to the festival declare to have been informed of the fact that the Organiser collects data for security reasons.” Thanks to that little legal phrase, the festival has offered up its buyer data — every little bit of information you give when purchasing tickets online, including credit card details — to the Belgian federal police for the past six years.
Some of those 38 people denied this year lodged a complaint with the Privacy Commission, who are now investigating exactly how the Belgian federal police screen ticket buyers, in order to ensure that no human rights are being breached, or privacy needlessly invaded. It must be stated that Tomorrowland isn’t under investigation.
This process may be going on for other music festivals – most people rushing to secure a ticket at 9am on the dot don’t pause to read half an hour of T&Cs before deciding whether they agree to the terms. It’s only that these people were denied, lodged official complaints, and an independent body conducted an investigation. Otherwise, this practice wouldn’t have come to light.
Recent tragic events at musical events will only nudge those who police, plan, and are otherwise responsible for the safety of large gatherings of people to adopt similar screening techniques. They will say it is necessary for public safety. It may well be.
Of course, any type of screening, by definition, involves prejudice — if this isn’t made transparent from the start, it will be revealed in time, and music festivals will become known for much more than long lines and great lineups.