Green Key concert will require wristbands for entry

by Julian Nathan | 5/4/17 2:05am

In a campus-wide email sent April 25, the Programming Board announced that concert-goers will be required to wear wristbands in order to gain entry to this year’s Green Key concert. Hanover town manager Julia Griffin said that the town of Hanover, Safety and Security, the Office for Student Life, the Hanover Police Department and the Hanover Fire Department all provided input on the decision. The concert, which will take place on Gold Coast lawn on May 19, will feature Sage the Gemini as the headliner alongside Cheat Codes and Smallpools.

Griffin said her office suggested using wristbands to restrict concert access to only the Dartmouth community because in previous years, many middle and high school students attended the concert while intoxicated and required emergency services. She added that during the 2015 Green Key concert, the demand for emergency services among high school students and non-Dartmouth affiliated adults was so high that every ambulance in the Upper Valley had to respond to intoxication cases at the College.

Griffin said she feared that diverting all ambulances to Dartmouth to deal with intoxication cases would prevent individuals dealing with emergencies elsewhere from receiving assistance.

She explained that since the concert is held outdoors, it can be difficult to prevent middle or high school students from attending.

“[Dartmouth’s] campus is very porous because it’s not surrounded by blocked gates,” she said. “Quite frankly, it would be much easier for the town if this concert were held indoors.”

She said creating a perimeter around the event and requiring students to wear wristbands in order to enter is one of the only ways that event organizers can prevent middle or high school students from attending the concert.

Griffin said the town and the College had been discussing security protocols for this year’s concert since last May. She said College staff voiced some concerns about increasing security at this year’s event.

Associate dean for student life Eric Ramsey said he was initially concerned that the new security precautions might make students feel uncomfortable. He added that he eventually realized that the measures were the best way to address the town’s concerns.

Griffin said that the College was required to apply for an Outdoor Activities Permit in order to obtain the town’s permission to host the concert. A permit needs to be acquired every year. She said although College officials ultimately agreed to implement the wristband system for this year’s concert, if they had refused to restrict access to the event, she might have denied the College’s permit.

In a joint interview with concert director Zach Tannenbaum ’17, Programming Board executive director Jack Kirsch ’17 said the College was spending more on security for this year’s concert than it has in previous years. He attributed the increase in spending to the need to station security personnel at concert access points to ensure that only members of the Dartmouth community attend the event.

This will be the fifth year the Programming Board has organized a Green Key concert. Kirsch noted that because of this history, officials from the College and the town can now analyze security trends and identify new protocols to improve security.

Last year, Programming Board worked with the College to distribute newsletters to schools in the Upper Valley explaining that only Dartmouth students were invited to the 2016 Green Key concert. Kirsch said that despite this measure, high school students and other uninvited guests still attended the concert.

Tannenbaum agreed with Kirsch that improving security measures in order to enter the event is the best way to restrict access to the concert.

He emphasized that the extent of most students’ encounters with security personnel at this year’s event will be to show their wristbands.

Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis said that his department also consulted with event planners and officials to ensure that this year’s concert had appropriate security protocols in place.

Dennis added that his department shared in Griffin’s concerns that middle or high school students would attend this year’s concert. He said he fully supported restricting access to the concert to only the Dartmouth community.

He explained that his department’s ultimate role is to make sure that students are safe and said this role has not changed despite the new measure.

Griffin, Ramsey and Kirsch noted that while officers from Safety and Security and the Hanover Police Department would be present at the event, the College would also contract Green Mountain Security, a private security firm that the College has hired for events like Homecoming and Green Key since 2015.

Correction Appended (May 4, 2017):

A previous edition of the article incorrectly stated the number of years that Programming Board has organized this version of the Green Key concert. While spring concerts have existed in various forms in the past, this is the fifth year of the Green Key concert in its current form. The article has been updated to reflect this change.