The Truth Behind The Wall

MTV was ruffled by criticism that it had celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall by building another one, but a security chief working on the event says the perimeter fence around the free U2 concert was necessary for public safety.

“Obtaining permissions for the [U2] Brandenburg Gate performance required particularly sensitive communications, taking place four days in advance of the commemorations to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall,” explained Simon Battersby, a director of UK security firm Showsec International.

“Preparations for that event meant that we couldn’t use the normal event site on the west side of the gate, so we located the show on the east of the gate on the Pariser Platz.

“That meant creating a free ticketed area for 10,000 fans, with an additional viewing area with screens for an unknown number of fans who could turn up. As with any city centre, free-ticketed concert-type performance, this involves careful planning with the police, local promoter, and consideration of residents that included the American, French and British embassies, hotels and banks,” he said.

Apart from overseeing the U2 show at Brandenburg Gate Nov. 5, Battersby headed a 10-man Showsec team charged with overseeing security for MTV’s EMA Awards at Berlin O2 on the same night.

It involved coordinating red-carpet arrivals, backstage movements, dressing rooms, outside broadcasts, front-of-house operations, talent hotels, international media and after-show parties.

Earlier this month, Showsec received another accolade when the company was recognised as the Best Event Security Team at the Security Excellence Awards.