Regardless of their size, events need strong levels of security. However, it should be recognised that festivals and large events, with hundreds or thousands of attendees, come with a large range of security and safety challenges all of their own.
These large events can have unique circumstances, so they require not only the right security measures to be put in place, but also a great deal of planning so that there’s something in place in the event of challenges or emergencies cropping up.
At Maltaward, we have provided a range of security features for large events including concrete barriers and fencing.
Here we take a look at some of the major security issues at festival and large events, as well as factors that can exacerbate the situation. We’ll also examine what organisers and planners need to do to keep the festival as safe and secure as possible.
What are the security threats at events?
There are actually many potential issues at events that need to be planned for. At large festivals with potentially thousands of people at the same site, there is greater chance that challenges will arise and things will go wrong.
- Public disorder – any time that you have a very large number of people gathered together, there is the potential for various kinds of public disorder. Some of the public disorder issues commonly seen include fights breaking out, groups causing trouble, or crimes against festival-goers such as theft or sexual assault. There is a very wide range of possibilities that need to be prepared for.
- Emergencies – another security issue that can arise at a festival is any kind of emergency. This could range from fires and medical emergencies, to even the possibility of terrorist threats. These emergencies have the potential to be exacerbated by the large number of people in attendance.
- Overcrowding and crushes – if crowd management is not in effect and proper precautions are not taken, the number of people in a certain area can be too large. This can result in crushes where individuals can be squeezed together too tightly, or even trampled.
- Unauthorised access – there are actually many issues that can arise from unauthorised access – not just the problem of people getting in to the event without a ticket, but also visitors getting near performers or accessing staff-only areas. These all come with their own potential problems and challenges.
Issues with liability
Remember that it is not just the problems outlined above that can cause issues for your event if you do not put appropriate security measures in place. Those are direct problems, but there are more indirect issues that should also be addressed. Failing to have appropriate security measures can invalidate your insurance policies and could allow your event to be held liable for any damages that occur.
What are the challenges for security at festivals?
There are many potential factors that can be a real challenge from a festival or event security perspective. These factors are not issues to overcome, as such, but can add to the difficulties that you can face in keeping everyone safe and secure.
- Alcohol and drugs – alcohol and drug misuse can serve as a catalyst for challenges at festivals. These types of events are often accompanied with drinking, which can only serve to make situations more volatile. And while you should have a strict no-tolerance approach on drugs, it is important to recognise that this will not stop people intent on using them.
- Weather – it is underappreciated as an issue, but the weather can play a major role in causing security and safety issues at events. In extremely hot weather there is the risk of heat stroke or dehydration, while in heavy rain there can be a rush for space under shelters which can be a cause for crushes.
Planning for a safe and secure festival
It is extremely important to put the right plans and strategies in place to keep your festival secure and safe. Preparation is the key.
- Formulate a plan – you need to have a general safety and security plan in place as one of the most important aspects of your festival or large event. The plan should take into account everything from the number of people you are expecting, the length of the event, the demographic of the audience and more. It should also plan for all the necessary safety and security equipment. Make sure that you put together a prohibited item list.
- Put emergency plans in place – as well as a general plan for security, you also need to have an emergency plan. This needs to cover the eventualities that nobody wants, but everybody needs to be prepared for, such as fire or medical emergencies.
- Coordinate with local authorities – it is important to speak to, and coordinate with, the relevant local authorities, including the police and fire department.
Important physical security features your festival needs
Physical security measures clearly play a vital role in the safety and security of everyone at an event. At smaller events you might be fine with a couple of security staff on the door, but at a festival that is going to be attended by hundreds or thousands of people, it is necessary to have a full complement of security measures in place.
- Well-trained staff – your staff are your major line of defence with regards to security – and not just specific security staff, but everyone involved. You need to ensure that your staff are fully trained and understand what to do in the event of any kind of security incident. All members of staff should be provided with comprehensive training so that they know what is expected of them, as well as what they need to do in an emergency.
- Barriers and fencing – barriers and fencing play an enormously important role at large-scale events. They are ideal for managing crowds and ensuring that too many people aren’t funnelled into the same place. They can also be vital in keeping apart performers and attendees, and separating areas that are only for staff
- Screening on entry – you should ensure that all visitors are screened on entry. This can be one of the most important areas of event security, as it minimises the risk of banned items potentially including weapons, drugs, and more, from getting into the event.
Maltaward offers a wide range of physical security measures that can be used at festivals and other large-scale events. If you are organising an event and need help with elements of security, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.