The ultimate guide to festival security
Festivals are definitely the time for letting loose, fun and celebrations.
However, with large crowds and a relaxed atmosphere, festivals can also present security risks to staff, attendees and anyone inside the grounds.
To ensure the safety of visitors while keeping the event running smoothly, we’ve compiled our list of useful festival security tips.
What is festival security?
Festival security comprises of a series of safety measures taken to protect any visitors and prevent incidents such as theft, violence, and other criminal activity.
Whether it is a small festival of under 1,000 visitors or a large-scale event, an efficient security plan plays a key role in creating a safe, enjoyable environment, and should be a vital point on every organiser’s agenda.
Why is festival security important?
There are many factors that can influence how safe festival-goers feel, including large crowds and substance abuse. Without proper security measures, attendees can be exposed to a range of criminal activities and put themselves and their belongings in serious danger.
What’s more, in cases of extreme weather conditions, such as high winds, heavy rain or extreme heat, festival security is responsible for taking immediate action to protect attendees. This can range from handing out rain ponchos or sun cream to a full-scale evacuation to a safe location if needed.
And finally, well-trained security guards can be an effective addition to your onsite medical team, providing medical assistance to visitors or directing them to the nearest available medical facility.
Effective measures of festival security
Planning efficient festival security is a complex task, starting with identifying the event’s main risks and hazards and then developing a strategy to prevent them.
The pre-event planning includes conducting a risk assessment, developing an emergency response plan and coordinating with law enforcement and other emergency services. Although this may seem like a lengthy process to go through ahead of the event, forward planning is one of the most important parts of efficient festival security, helping to carefully organise the event and prevent any undesired disruptions.
On-site festival security refers to a set of measures physically present at the event to ensure the safety of visitors, staff and performers. From access control to surveillance and monitoring, each asset plays a specific role in minimising potential security threats and complements the overall event safety.
These can include:
Access control is a great initial step to effective on-site security. They oversee who enters the festival grounds and prevent any prohibited items being brought on site, such as weapons, drugs or alcohol.
To ensure only ticket holders can access the premises, ticket validation can be carried out manually as well as through barcode scanning of RFID wristbands.
All bags brought into the festival area need to be checked for prohibited or suspicious items. While some event organisers choose to carry out bag checks manually, metal detectors can be an efficient, more accurate way to check a larger number of visitors in a shorter time.
In addition to bag checks, security officers can also conduct pat-down searches, adding an extra security layer to bag searches and metal detectors. By inspecting the visitors’ clothed bodies, officers are able to check the presence of prohibited and dangerous items.
Trained security guards are responsible for monitoring the festival grounds, detecting potential security risks and responding to them, all while ensuring the safety of attendees.
Where and how festival security guards are used are determined by the size of the area, the number of visitors and the facilities provided at the event. Alongside assisting at the festival entrance, the responsibilities of festival security guards may include:
One of the duties of a security guard is to keep watch for any suspicious activity and potential threats, ready to step in and deal with them in a quick and efficient manner.
To maximise the efficiency of the security strategy, guards should be spread all over the festival grounds, including the entrance and outer barriers, stages and performance areas, vendor areas, restrooms and camping areas.
Conflict resolution comes hand in hand with monitoring activity. In the case of any conflicts, the primary responsibility of security guards is to de-escalate the situation and use appropriate force if necessary.
Large, chaotic crowds are inevitable aspects of the upcoming festival season. The role of security guards is to monitor behaviour within the crowd, ensuring they follow the festival’s regulations and don’t get out of hand.
And finally, security guards should be trained to respond to a range of emergency situations, including medical emergencies, fires, or extreme weather conditions. By cooperating with other medical units or law enforcement teams, they can effectively resolve any given situation.
Efficient festival security should be a combination of preventive measures and an emergency response plan, with good communication playing a crucial role in coordinating all officers and units.
With festivals being dynamic and often unpredictable events, it is also important to develop a flexible security plan, able to adapt to quickly changing circumstances and respond quickly to emerging threats.
At CDX Security Group, we are proud to offer high quality security solutions for all types of events including festivals, concerts, sports events and more. From the start of your event to the finish, our experienced team of security guards is specially trained to keep you, your guests and all assets safe.