Events and particularly music events require much planning and thought beforehand. In most cases it is recommended that a team is put in place to take control of this planning process. The risks must be considered, and solutions put in place. Paying extra attention to laws and legislations can ensure you are providing a safe environment for both workers and audiences alike. This includes The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and The Noise at Work Regulations 2005.
There are many factors that event planners must consider throughout the event planning process, as discussed by 'The Event Tutor' below.
We understand that every event and business is unique, and that advice must be sought from other sources including the local authorities and emergency services. Below are just a few areas to think about when planning a music event.
Having many contractors on site can provide an issue where health and safety is concerned. Asking contractors to provide their own health and safety policies, as well as detailing where the risks may lie during their work can prove beneficial. Permit management can also be a complex process if paper based, especially when dealing with multiple contractors from multiple organisations. Before the arrival of contractors or outside workers to a venue, ensure there are clear safety policies and requirements and that these are communicated to and understood by all involved.
Access and Exit
Consideration needs to be taken for how your audience will both access and exit a music venue. Temporary traffic signs may be needed or event marshals to guide traffic to the correct location. When traffic then reaches your venue, the parking must be well thought-out in order to include both the audience’s individual vehicles, coaches, as well as artist and staff’s vehicles. Dependent on the scale of the music event at hand, this may be manageable independently or may possibly require professional assistance.
When planning any event, the entire customer journey must be thought about. Once visitors leave their vehicles, their journey on foot is still important. Ideally pedestrians should be segregated from vehicles access areas. If this is unavoidable, safe crossings and routes should be put in place. This is not only desirable, but it is also the law to ensure that pedestrians and vehicles can use a traffic route without causing danger to the health or safety of people around them.
Sound and particularly volume is obviously a huge consideration at any music event. Typically noises above 85dB are harmful, yet the noise levels at concerts and sports events reach levels of roughly 120-129 dB.
High sound levels can present a risk to the audience. This is both because of the effect high volume may have on hearing and because of the high levels of vibration. It is a requirement of The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and The Noise at Work Regulations 2005 that employers and event organisers protect both their workers and audience from noise and vibrations. Sound and vibration levels should be monitored during rehearsal, along with sound check and performances to ensure full control is kept and adjustments can be made. All of these steps can be implemented and monitored through best practice solutions.
The risks involved with a music event can vary drastically from event to event. In order to plan for crowds in any event there must be clear knowledge of numbers, types of staff or stewards on hand, how they will organise themselves and who is in command.
Dealing with crowds is not about controlling people but rather about understanding crowd psychology and dynamics in order to manage them accordingly and should not be taken lightly.
Various strategies can be taken to prevent the likes of overcrowding, for example, 'fast lanes' for those without the need for bag searches, as well as pens with strict maximum allocations.
A risk assessment including an emergency plan and a first aid plan must be put in place to be prepared for crowd surges, injuries and other major incidents including crowd clashes with neighbouring sports and social venues.
Social media has risen astronomically at events in the last 3 years, acting as a ‘live feed’ for all activity from wedding proposals to updates on bar queues. However, it is also an instant “panic button” if not measured, assessed, or planned for. Managing social traffic at events is key to managing potential issues with crowds, possible incidents and ensuring all known issues are tracked and responded to.
This is just a small snippet of the areas that need to be considered for music events taken from Simon Garrett's keynote speech for Airsweb (now EcoOnline) User Conference.
Simon’s keynote on the “Risk Assessment of a Concert” was well received. People were able to exclusively hear from an expert on the key issues of risk management and health and safety processes surrounding music events.