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Safety At Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

The tragic incident at Astroworld festival last weekend highlights the need for festival organisers to be ever vigilant about safety at their events. There are numerous facets that need to be planned and managed to ensure the safety of all attending a music festival but what are the primary factors organisers should consider?


The majority of music festivals go ahead every year without any major incidents and are a great success for all concerned, however, it only takes one tragedy to cause concerns for the entire sector globally. The Astroworld incident is not the first large scale festival to suffer such a tragedy with the most notable being the crowd disaster at the 2010 Love Parade electronic dance music festival in Duisburg in July 2010 when overcrowding caused the deaths of 21 people and left 500 injured. Such disasters invariably cause future cancellations and often lead to financial ruin and the prosecution of organisers. For these reasons organisers must take all matters of crowd control and safety seriously and give it due priority.

Planning.
There is no substitute for great planning and this should cover agreed capacity numbers and secure ticketing to avoid fake tickets being used that can lead to unexpected excess numbers of festival-goers. Organisers must work closely with police and other local service agencies to fully understand the impact on festival sites and venues of large numbers of people and how they will be safely managed.

Crowd Control. 
Understanding the science of crowd control can assist in planning how large numbers of people move and circulate at large festivals and avoiding bottlenecks is key to achieving this. There are consultants that can be contracted to advise organisers on the ideal layout within a given space.

Access and Egress. 
Bottlenecks can often occur at entrance and exit gates and whilst organisers prefer to have tight control over entrance there is technology available for secure gating and fences to be automatically ‘released’ to allow overcrowding to be eased. Ideally the security staff should be working with police to control the flow of people to avoid crowds at entrance gates.

Medical Facilities. 
Every music festival will have on-site medical facilities although how adequate these are for each event vary enormously. Organisers and staff should be fully briefed and trained on how to deal with just about any medical emergency. 

By understanding the failures of previous events and festivals that led to disasters can help in the planning and management of future festivals. Consulting experts who can advise on site layout, crowd control and medical emergencies can potentially save lives. Staff and volunteer training should always include disaster prevention measures and practical exercises with health and safety experts to help instil peace of mind. 

For music festival organisers planning their future events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics including health and safety. 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 Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by ELEVATE from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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