Beware ! Concert Season Is Upon Us.Peter Houghton
With the football season, give or take a couple of England matches, more or less over many of our stadia will be being prepared for a series of close-season concerts. At the Etihad we have already hosted 3 nights of the Spice Girls attracting in excess of 50000 per night.
Music events in our football stadia always present us with different challenges especially as each artist has a different following public. After 3 nights of what looked like a global hen party we move on to Muse and then to the heavy metal feel of Metallica.
Many other Safety Officers are being presented with similar situations.
In researching for these events we can’t help but have noticed what happened at the “We Are FSTVL” in Upminster last weekend, where crowds were held for an unusually long time outside the event entry points to the extent that they finally stormed the barrier queue system.
I have linked to an article in the Evening Standard which gives many different reasons for this. In our planning for these events most of us will include the provision of external WCs and places where the waiting public can purchase drinks, especially where some of the audience is likely to arrive in the middle of the night (those of you hosting Bon Jovi take note!). There is reference to wrist-banding and running out of them in the article. With the entry systems that we deploy around our grounds it is perhaps easier for us to deal with this as they are a bit more robust that ped barrier and a couple of stewards, but you can bet that wherever entry systems include wrist-banding, at some point you are going to run out and it is vital that contingencies are in place for this, especially if you do have vulnerable entry points.
Having worked on a seemingly endless number of festivals both in a football stadium and green fields, and led the teams on the gates, I don’t think I’ve witnessed anything like this but it does highlight the fact that we have to show some sort of duty of care to those facing a longer than normal wait to gain entry to our events.