Festival security is one of the vital security services we provide at Stage Security. It is one of our most challenging tasks, but we are always dedicated to ensuring all attendees, performers, and staff have a fun and safe day. Several obstacles can cause danger at a festival, from public disorders to drug abuse, which is why we must be prepared. The steps we take to execute a successful festival and the risks involved can depend on the event’s nature and how large it is.
In this article, we will talk you through some of the key steps in planning for festival security and several high risks that our experienced team is trained to look out for.
As with much of our work, providing security for a festival starts right at the planning stage. This is where we will carry out several risk assessments to identify the current level of risks. For instance, we will grade the current risk of overcrowding and, if necessary, identify actions to reduce the risk. Other risks that we frequently encounter include electrical and fire hazards, crew safety and weather or environmental conditions. Ultimately we must prepare for any scenario, even situations that are unexpected or unlikely to happen. Should an unexpected situation arise during the festival, the correct procedures need to be in place to counteract the threat and reduce the level of risk. By assessing the risks, we can determine what resolutions need to be in place before the festival and prioritise resources for the risks that are more likely to happen.
In addition to risk assessments, this early process involves planning the festival as detailed as possible. We will consider aspects such as site suitability and transport links. It’s important that the festival site can handle the intended capacity, that sufficient transport options for attendees are available, and that the festival won’t negatively impact the local community and environment. It’s also essential to outline what items can and cannot be brought into the festival site in the form of a prohibited items list that can inform security personnel and festival-goers of the clear regulations.
We will also prepare for any emergency to ensure an effective evacuation plan is in place should the site need to be evacuated at any point. It’s vital to liaise with local councils and emergency services every step of the way to explain the security steps that will be taken, and so that we can hear their suggestions and concerns. When we plan for a festival, we will always produce security briefing packs to provide clear and informative communication for all those that require it.
When it comes to the festival week itself, crowd management is essential in the work that we carry out. We make sure that suitable fencing and barriers are in place. It’s important that a streamlined entrance and exit system is in place and that restricted areas are clearly secured. When permitting access to guests, our security personnel are friendly and firm when conducting searches, ensuring that a good first impression is left while restricting unauthorised access or removing any prohibited items. Festivals are meant to be fun, but from time to time, some people either take it too far or attend with bad intentions in mind. Our security guards are trained to spot all kinds of bad behaviour, including anti-social behaviour, out-of-control mosh pits, crowd disturbances and drug use, and respond appropriately.
Festivals can lead to unpredictable situations, no matter how small or large the event is. They are typically much larger than that of a concert or an event at an indoor venue and require complex management. Communication between all festival staff is crucial in running a safe and successful festival. We will always provide security briefing packs to inform relevant personnel about key information. This makes sure that everyone is on the same wavelength for various security matters, including prohibited items, evacuation procedures and key contact information. We take steps to ensure that the security personnel for Stage Security maintain a visible presence and have access to a good radio communications system. We must ensure strong and clear communication between all other agencies, including police, first aid and event management. We also perform regular spot checks on staff and events car parks as well as storage areas.
As a professional security firm, it’s our priority to maintain the welfare of all those involved in the successful operation of the festival. It goes without saying that we aim to keep all attendees safe, so they have a fun and entertaining time at the festival. However, there are three particular areas of welfare that we pay special attention to. One of these areas is staff welfare. Festival staff should be able to carry out their tasks without coming into contact with risks. Securing restricted areas, providing efficient crowd management and preventing health & safety hazards help us to keep staff safe. We know that some festival-goers can become loud and aggressive after becoming intoxicated, which is why our security guards always maintain a high visible presence.
Then there is the welfare of children at family-friendly festivals. There is a risk of children running around where they shouldn’t, getting seriously injured, or losing their parents or guardians at large-scale events. Our personnel hold the necessary qualifications and skills to safeguard the welfare of children and will be fully aware of the procedures to reconnect lost children with their parents/guardians.
Finally, we look to provide adequate solutions to ensure site welfare. This includes setting up lost and found areas, providing necessary supplies to attendees and ensuring key facilities are available, including toilets, power points and food & drink.
We know just how important customer service is when dealing with members of the public. Our mission is not to make festival attendees feel scared or put off by an obtrusive security presence. We do everything we can to ensure everyone is safe first and foremost, but it’s absolutely possible to achieve this with a friendly and positive attitude. We know how vital it is for festival organisers that attendees walk away with a positive experience. This is especially true for annual shows that rely on returning attendees. Our role in customer experience starts at the very beginning. We will typically be the first point of contact for festival-goers as soon as they arrive, so we must leave a good first impression. All our personnel are instructed on the essentials of security along with people skills, clear communication, and maintaining friendly interactions.
Hiring a professional security company to oversee your festival is only one of the essential measures that you should put in place. To keep your festival attendees safe and happy, there are additional safety requirements for you to consider. For instance, you may need to hire several medical services. You can partner with a medical provider, such as St John Ambulance. This measure will provide you with trained medical personnel such as doctors and paramedics, ambulance vehicles, a mobile medical centre, and first aid equipment. Ultimately, it will ensure that your customers can receive vital treatment in the event of a medical episode, an area that security guards are limited in their capabilities to deal with. Other partners that you may work with include local police forces, Highways England, wellbeing charities, disability organisations, and fire safety consultants.
We have vast experience working on various festivals across the South East. Our security experts have worked on small and large festivals for everything from music festivals to food & drink festivals, maritime festivals and cultural events. An example of a festival we’ve provided security for is the LeeStock Music Festival, one of the region’s largest festivals. The event celebrates music and people in honour of Lee Dunford, who sadly died from blood cancer in 2006. We’ve also worked at the Stowmarket Food and Drink Festival and the Suffolk Show, two family-friendly events that ensure an excellent day out. One of our favourite local events to cover is the Ipswich Maritime Festival, a one-day event over the August bank holiday which features good entertainment and spectacular sailing yachts. Other examples of our local festivals include Ipswich Music Day and the 1 Big Multicultural Festival. Our team is dedicated to safeguarding the safety of the public and VIPs while ensuring a successful event enjoyed by all.
If you plan to run a festival in the UK soon, we would be more than happy to discuss how Stage Security can help. We can provide festival security support in areas such as event assessments, emergency planning and crowd management. Visit our request a quote page to leave your contact details, and a member of our team will be in touch.