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Medical Coverage for Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

A large-scale music festival can mean up to 150,000 visitors, the equivalent of a small town descending on a site for several days so the need for providing suitable coverage for medical emergencies is inevitable. Aside from being a requirement of Health and Safety regulations it is common sense to plan for the provision of suitable medial facilities and personnel. 


With such large temporary communities is it not unusual over a period of three or four days to see a variety of medial cases from minor injuries and food poisoning to more serious medical emergencies. The live music industry generally follows the Health & Safety regulations and Purple Guide recommendations and for those interested just visit their website for more details.

In most cases a music festival organiser will utilise their volunteers for coverage of basic first aid and this can form part of the volunteer application process to identify qualified first aiders. It also makes sense to include first aid as part of the volunteer’s training programme. In addition to volunteer first aiders the event organiser is going to have to outsource medical services from an external contractor. A quick search online reveals multiple suppliers for organisers to consider.

A key part of the planning phase is to conduct a risk assessment based on the site layout and number of anticipated event goers. This will determine the type of coverage that may be required and will be reflected in the costs associate with outsourcing medical services. When assessing a potential contractor ensure that they follow the necessary Health & Safety regulations and the Purple Guide recommendations. Typically, the resources required will depend on visitor numbers so anything much over 20,000 is going the require most of the following: 

  • First aid trained personnel, although this can come primarily from the recruited volunteers.
  • Paramedics and an onsite doctor who have experience in dealing with more serious medical emergencies. 
  • Nurses qualified for minor emergencies (cuts and wounds) and pharmaceutical administration. 

In addition to the range of medical staff there is a requirement for fast responders and paramedics who can quickly reach any part of the festival site on bicycle or ATV for example. For more serious emergencies access to a fully equipped ambulance for transfer to the nearest hospital should be available onsite too. 

On the festival site organisers should plan for numerous first aid posts distributed around the site plus a fully equipped medical centre where the resident doctor, nurse and ambulance should be located with easy access to and from the site.

Event organisers should include the provision of medical coverage for their festival in the planning process. Using an events software management platform like FestivalPro music festival event organisers get all the functionality they need to manage medical contractors and volunteers. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The FestivalPro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features for managing every aspect of the external contractors including schedules and contact details along with the logging of appropriate contracts and compliance documents. In addition, the volunteer application process, allocation of shifts and training schedules can be managed with the system. 

Photo by Roger Brown from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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