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Drone Usage at Music Festivals.

Andy Robertson

Drones have become very popular in recent years and with advances in technology they have become easier to fly and control. A music festival site provides a multitude of opportunities for drone usage but what are the limitations and uses for drones at an outdoor live event that organisers should be aware of. 


Drones can vary enormously in complexity and cost and can be piloted by amateurs or by professionals depending on their use. Many countries have strict limitations and regulations on drone usage whilst others are more relaxed. The key concerns of authorities is the safety of aircraft and people on the ground.

Drone Regulations. 
The UK, for example, has a code of practice issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) where pilots must adhere to height zones which are defined as no higher than 120m and no lower than 50m when flying near people. However, the limit of 50m to people can be flexible when they are aware of or involved in the drone activity. The CAA discourages flying drones over festival crowds (at least 150m) so event organisers should enforce this where possible but exceptions can be made by obtaining the necessary authorisation form the CAA for festivals. For professional organisations operating drones, the CAA provides theory and flying tests plus registration which allows certain activities along with appropriate insurance.

Festival Organiser Usage. 
Drones can provide a new aspect to festival site security and crowd control and there are now professional companies that can be contracted to provide these services during a multi-day festival. The professional pilots are generally permitted by the CAA to fly as close as 20m to crowds as long as it is in the interests of public safety. Drones can be used to monitor security perimeter fencing and unlawful incidents taking place on-site like assaults or other emergencies for example. They also have a role to play in monitoring crowd build up at entrance gates enabling any crowd control measures to be rapidly implemented.

Content Filming.
Drone video footage of a music festival to provide content is becoming more popular and organisers who want to provide drone footage usually employ the services of an experienced specialist contractor. A good drone pilot using the right equipment can work with producers and directors to capture the content requested whether it's being recorded for later or as part of a live stream. The contractor should have the necessary registration and insurance to operate close to large crowds. 

Whilst many festival-goers may bring small drones onto a festival site, organisers should ensure that visitors understand any restrictions in place. Some festival organisers may impose a complete ban on visitors using drones, probably the simplest solution, or restrict them to uncrowded spaces.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. 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 Inmortal Producciones: https://www.pexels.com/photo/drone-flying-against-blue-sky-336232/Photo by Inmortal Producciones via PexelsInmortal Producciones: https://www.pexels.com/photo/drone-flying-against-blue-sky-336232/

Andy Robertson
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