Security backlash at Four Year Strong concert

Different genres of music have different traditions fans try to uphold, whether it’s dancing with glow sticks at an electronic concert or moshing and crowd surfing at a punk rock concert.

On Oct. 4 the Student Activities Council [SAC] put on a free concert opened to both students and non-students. A band comprised of students, Eyes For Others, opened for melodic hardcore band Four Year Strong.

“One thing I want people to know is that this is not the fall concert,” President of SAC Ryan Mahan said. The fall concert will take place on Saturday, Nov. 22, according to Mahan.

The Four Year Strong concert was put on as an extra event for students. Alicia Berry, the concert coordinator for SAC, said the concert was free because it was physically and monetarily possible for SAC to bring the band and offer students a free concert.

Mahan said he was happy there was variety being incorporated into the concert’s put-on.

“In the four years I’ve been here, there hasn’t been an alternative-punk rock band here,” Mahan said, “We were definitely able to reach out to a population of students that we weren’t able to reach out to before.”

Connor Morrell / Equinox Staff

Connor Morrell / Equinox Staff

Berry said she thought it was a great idea to have this concert and she was very excited for it. Before each set, she explained the rules and policies the people attending the concert had to follow.

“There was to be no pushing, shoving, crowd surfing, smoking, drinking and most of the people obeyed the rules,” Berry explained. She also told people if they did not follow the rules they would be escorted out of the concert. “Just because it’s a punk-rock concert doesn’t excuse the fact that it’s the Mabel Brown Room,” Berry said.

According to Mahan, SAC had a briefing and debriefing with the members who would be a part of security at the concert. He said it was a bit different than a regular briefing because the genre of music brought moshing and crowd surfing to the scene. He referred to the SAC security members as the “eyes for Campus Safety.” They work with Campus Safety officers to enforce safety rules for the people attending events. There were four Campus Safety officers at the Four Year Strong Concert.

Mahan said, “Campus Safety was more of a front-runner in this concert.”

According to Associate Director of Campus Safety Stuart Mitchell, there was a non-student banned from the campus for at least a year because of his behavior at the concert.

Mitchell said the unidentified male was pushing and shoving people and he was given a warning to stop his behavior. After he did not stop he was escorted out of the Mabel Brown Room. According to Mitchell, the male asked to go back in to collect his belongings and he was escorted by Mitchell back into the Mabel Brown Room. As he was being escorted back out of the concert he sprinted away from Mitchell and jumped onto another male’s shoulders and head. It was at this time the four Campus Safety officers ran and restrained the male non-student.

“The male who he [the non-student] jumped on came up to me after the concert and thanked me [for getting the non-student off of him],” Mitchell said.

The Keene Police Department was called to campus to reinforce the situation.

“When he [the non-student] began to realize the repercussions and was escorted out of the building he began to be compliant,” Mitchell continued, “We also enforce the guidelines of the college … And jumping on somebody is unacceptable.”

Mitchell said the Campus Safety officers were not sure if the non-student needed to be arrested or just removed. The non-student was not arrested.

A Keene police officer was not available for comment.

Mitchell said he had to escort at least six people out of the concert because of pushing, shoving and crowd surfing, but as many as nine out of about 300 people attending the concert were escorted out for unacceptable behavior. Most of the students enjoyed themselves and almost everybody obeyed the rules, according to Mitchell.

Senior Cade Nauman attended the Four Year Strong concert because he is a fan of the music and he wanted to take photos for his portfolio. He said he understood Campus Safety had policies to uphold, but “coming from the scene, it was child’s play.”

According to Nauman there was some pushing and shoving, but it was not as bad as it could have been. “They [Campus Safety] made it out to be that we were all hurting each other and it wasn’t like that,” Nauman said. Nauman did not take part in moshing or crowd surfing because he did not want to be escorted out.

Derek Blunt, a senior at Keene State College, was escorted out of the Mabel Brown Room for unknown reasons. According to Blunt, he was being pushed around with the crowd when he was pulled out by a campus safety officer and told he had to leave. Blunt said when his friends asked the campus safety officer why Blunt was asked again to leave and his friends were also told to leave the concert.

“They [Campus Safety] didn’t realize that’s the culture of the music,” Blunt said, “They [Campus Safety] didn’t have the knowledge of what type of show it was.”

Blunt was upset that he didn’t receive a reason as to why he was asked to leave. According to Blunt, being pushed around is something that comes along with the type of music. “That’s just how these shows go,” Blunt said.

“It’s definitely important to make sure people are safe, but just be educated on the culture,” Blunt said, “Go into it expecting a lively show.”


Rebecca Marsh can be contacted at

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