BANGOR, Maine — On Saturday, rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie will perform at Bangor's Cross Insurance Center. This concert is the venue's first big event since a new mask mandate went into effect on Monday. The mandate requires all guests at the facility to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
Anthony Vail, general manager of the Cross Insurance Center, said they're following the city of Bangor's guidelines as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Penobscot County.
"Safety first should always be of the utmost importance to all of us and we here at the Cross Center adhere to that," Vail said.
Vail said he and his team are also thinking about safety beyond masks. Just one week ago, nine people were killed and at least 300 others were injured at rapper Travis Scott's Astroworld Music Festival in Houston, Texas.
With that incident still on the minds of many, Vail said his team was extra vigilant this week as they prepared for safety measures at the concert.
The Cross Insurance Center isn't alone in thinking of safety. Blue-U Defense is a New Hampshire-based company that travels across the country training people and businesses in "reality-based" safety and security situations, like an active threat or shooter situations. Joseph Hileman is a co-founder of the company.
"Is it unfortunate that we have to do this? Absolutely. Should we have to do it? Absolutely not ... but this is about reality," Hileman said.
Hileman said if you find yourself in a situation where there's an active threat, do your best to get away from the crowds.
"Don't go to the ground, stay on your feet as best as you can, focus on your breathing, and just start to slow your heart rate and concentrate on your survival," Hileman said.
He said if the crowd starts to become too rowdy or unruly, it's important to re-evaluate the situation, asking questions like, "Is it worth me staying or should I start to make my way to the outside of the crowd at this point?"
Lastly, he said, it helps to make a reunification plan. If you go with a group, decide on a meeting location in case someone gets separated.
"All we need to do is be a little more heads up, a little bit more aware of what's going on around us, and start to develop your own plan," Hileman said.
"At the end of the day, we want people to wear their masks while they're here and enjoy themselves. It's going to be a great night at the Cross Center," Vail said.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday.