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The Dartmouth
June 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Hanover High School unlocks Green Key

Former Hanover High students share their experiences sneaking into the Green Key concert.

greenkey24_katelyn_concertcrowd.jpg

This article is featured in the 2024 Green Key special issue.

Three former Hanover High School students have been given the pseudonyms Julia, Mike and Lily. They each have been granted anonymity so they may speak candidly about their experiences. 

For Dartmouth students, the Green Key mainstage concert is just a free wristband away. For Hanover High School students, attending Shaggy’s concert will take some extra effort.

One former Hanover High student, who will be referred to in this article as Julia, said her friends convinced her to sneak into the Green Key concert last year. Although Julia was “not a huge fan of loud concerts,” she decided to attend because “all [her] friends” had bought wristbands.

“I [didn’t] have the wristband, [so] what [I] ended up doing was I just followed a group of Dartmouth students into one of the dorms and there [was] an exit that was just right out and there was no security,” Julia explained. “I wasn’t there for a super long time, probably two hours … [but] I’m glad I went.”

For other local high schoolers, sneaking into the Green Key concert is a more common experience. Another former Hanover High student — who will be referred to in this article as Mike — said he attended the concert in both his junior and senior years. The first time, he said, was a “a really wholesome experience” since his friend was “super into” Saint Motel — the 2022 headliner, according to past reporting by The Dartmouth.

“He’s their biggest fan,” Mike said.

Mike said he and his friends were observing the band from a distance when a security guard, recognizing them as “a group of 16-year-olds there to have a bit of fun,” let them sneak beyond the gates.

“[The security guard said], ‘Okay guys I’m gonna turn my back for thirty seconds. If you happen to sneak in … that’s cool,” Mike said. “My friends are very law-abiding citizens so they didn’t go, but me and one of the girls went … and it was a lot of fun.”

While one officer was willing to allow high schoolers into the concert, the College at large works to prevent unauthorized guests from entering. According to Programming Board executive chair Kennedy Wiehle ’25, multiple organizations on campus collaborate to provide security for the event. 

Wiehle wrote in an email statement to The Dartmouth that PB works with the College and the Town of Hanover to enlist the Department of Safety and Security, the Hanover Police Department, Green Mountain Security — a hired independent security team —  and Dartmouth Emergency Medical Services to monitor and safely run the event.

To gain access to the concert, individuals must present a wristband, which is available for online purchase to both undergraduate and graduate students, according to campus-wide emails sent by PB. All current Dartmouth students can receive a free wristband prior to the event, with the opportunity to buy $20 guest tickets for up to two invitees. 

All entry points to the concert are monitored by PB and security from other organizations, Wiehle wrote.

“We try to make Dartmouth students [PB members and volunteers] the first line of security at the entrances checking wristbands,” Wiehle wrote. “The additional security is present should the need arise.”

In addition to local police, Safety and Security also coordinates with the Hanover Fire Department to ensure safety, Safety and Security director Keiselim Montás wrote in an email statement to The Dartmouth.

“We look after venue access and have an established perimeter with designated access points,” Montás wrote.

Wiehle wrote that the ticketing system at Green Key is designed “in response to a high number of incidents with non-Dartmouth students at the concert.” 

“The Town of Hanover implemented the expectation that PB would control access to the concert to ensure attendance was limited to Dartmouth students and their guests as a condition for event permit approval,” Wiehle wrote. “All attendees need a concert wristband to enter the venue.”

Montás also wrote that the ticketing system allows staff to quickly determine who has access to event grounds, leading to streamlined concert entry.

“We are hoping to have an enjoyable and successful event, and the cooperation of the entire community is key to this end,” Montás wrote.

The enhanced security measures, however, have made it more difficult for high schoolers to enter the concert, Mike said. Mike explained that accessing the event the second time was “less successful” due to increased security.

Nonetheless, Mike said he managed to enjoy Neon Trees’s 2023 performance on Tuck Mall.

“I found a group of frat [brothers] … [who] saw my desperation and they were like, “Yeah don’t worry we got you,’” Mike said. “They form[ed] a circle around me … and … we just walk[ed] through the gate.”

This method “wasn’t completely successful,” however, as Mike’s group of friends were asked for identification when attempting to pass through a security checkpoint, Mike said. The group ultimately managed to “run past” the guards into the event and “hide themselves” among the crowd, he added.

To get around needing a Dartmouth ID to access the concert, Mike said some people pretend to be Dartmouth students. This approach, however, is not always successful.

“People really put some effort into trying to get in,” Mike said. “I know one girl who got Dartmouth merch and got a fake Dartmouth ID to try to get in but they turned her away.”

Not all high schoolers go to such extreme lengths to gain entry. A third Hanover High School graduate, who will be referred to as Lily, said her friend — who was taking classes at Dartmouth —  managed to get tickets from a student and enter the event legally.

“I think how most people do it is they have a friend or someone they know at Dartmouth and that’s how they get in,” Lily said. “My friend who had a friend [got us tickets].”

All three students said Green Key is a significant event not only for Dartmouth students, but also for younger people in the Hanover area.

“I would say that … it’s definitely a thing that Hanover High School students do,” Julia said. “I saw my brother there, and he’s two years younger than me.”

Mike explained that Green Key is one of the few exciting events in the area.

“Hanover, if you’re not in Dartmouth, is a very boring place to be,” Mike said. “So Green Key is one annual event where I didn’t have to drive three hours out of my way and I could still have a good time. So genuinely, it was a priority to go there.”

Despite the event’s popularity with the local high schoolers, both Wiehle and Montás urged the community to gain access to Green Key by legitimate means — especially due to security concerns.

“Unregistered guests pose a threat to the trust the Town of Hanover places in PB to manage this event,” Wiehle wrote. “We ask that instead of sneaking in your guests that students will go through the appropriate channels to purchase a ticket.”

For any non-Dartmouth parties who cannot secure a ticket, Wiehle emphasized that there are other enjoyable, open events at Dartmouth throughout the year.

“We ask that you enjoy the many open events that Dartmouth offers throughout the year and leave this event for Dartmouth students and their guests,” Wiehle wrote.