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Chicago concertgoers could hear Miranda Lambert and sign up for TSA PreCheck, too

Country LakeShake, other music festivals, even Staples stores are among the nontraditional locales where travelers can now sign up for the government’s expedited airport security program.

Annabel Hess got to go through the TSA PreCheck line at County LakeShake on Northerly Island because she signed up on the spot for TSA PreCheck.
Annabel Hess got to go through the TSA PreCheck line at County LakeShake on Northerly Island because she signed up on the spot for TSA PreCheck.
Dawn Gilbertson / USA Today

The neon green fanny pack strapped around Annabel Hess’ skinny jeans carried all the essentials for a music festival: credit card, driver’s license, phone, Chapstick.

And her passport.

The 25-year-old concertgoer wasn’t headed out of the country after Miranda Lambert closed the first night of this year’s annual Country LakeShake festival at the Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. She brought it to sign up for TSA PreCheck, the government’s expedited airport security program.

Hess, a regular traveler, had been meaning to sign up so she no longer has to beg other passengers to cut the security line when she’s running late for a flight. Her roommate has had PreCheck since college and saw the festival’s pitch about enrolling on-site and getting a fast pass through festival security as a bonus.

”This was an easy opportunity,’’ Hess said. “So here I am.’’

She signed up inside the green-and-purple Identogo RV outside the festival gates in about 10 minutes, then headed for the fast-pass line to get into the festival.

Identogo by Idemia, which handles TSA PreCheck enrollment under a government contract, has been trying to boost PreCheck enrollment by offering signups at nontraditional locations. Most people sign up at an airport or a universal enrollment center run by Idemia. Beside music festivals, Identogo has expanded enrollment to include office supply retailer Staples and sporting events including, beginning this year, Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park.

”What we’re trying to do is make it more convenient for people to enroll,’’ said Charles Carroll, senior vice president of Idemia. “Take away all the friction points.’’

PreCheck signups began at festivals a few years ago in a partnership with concert promoter LiveNation and have been ramped up this year, with LiveNation and at other events, Carroll said. The RV was parked at the BottleRock Napa Valley musical festival in northern California in late May and spent the first weekend in June at CMA Fest in Nashville, Tennessee.

Angie Hamblen, senior manager of marketing and event promotions for Idemia, oversees the PreCheck RV at events around the country. Hamblen said the mobile enrollment centers fielded a lot of questions about what PreCheck is in the first few years, but now people are familiar with it. “Now, it’s: ‘How do I do this? How do I sign up?’ ‘’

In a one-hour span at the LakeShake festival, 10 concertgoers filed in to the RV to sign up, including a mother and her two daughters and the wife of a frequent flyer who already had PreCheck.

The festival signup lineup continues in mid-July with the Forecastle music festival in Louisville, Kentucky. This fall, concertgoers will be able to sign up for PreCheck at Moon River Festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Music Midtown in Atlanta and Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans.

Carroll said the nontraditional venues tend to draw more vacation travelers to PreCheck, compared with frequent business travelers at airport locations.

Festivals also help to draw in millennials, such as Hess and Kate Hansell, a 28-year-old Chicagoan who also enrolled at LakeShake.

Hansell, who has attended the three-day festival ever since it debuted five years ago, travels a few times a year and was tired of being stuck in the standard TSA line at the airport.

”People I travel with all seem to have it, and they seem to get through faster than me,’’ Hansell said.

She completed the online application for PreCheck earlier this year, but the closest enrollment center to her office had closed. Members have to visit a center for a background check and fingerprinting.

When she heard about sign-ups at LakeShake — the festival promotes the program heavily as part of Identogo’s sponsorship — she decided to bring her passport and sign up.

She was approved a week later and soon after used the PreCheck lane at O’Hare Airport.

Read more at USA Today.