How to plan security for a festival

How to plan security for a festival

Planning a festival but not sure where to start? Whether you’re organising a crowded music festival or a laid-back beer festival, security is essential. You may be the best at booking incredible acts and getting a crowd excited, but when it comes to security, all festival organisers need advice from the experts. So, keep your staff and attendees safe with six security precautions outlined in this guide, designed to help you plan a festival safely.

1. Perimeter security

Perimeter security is important for many reasons when it comes to planning a festival. Not only will it prevent non-ticket holders from accessing the site, but it also keeps attendees safe from any potential threats. There are a number of ways that you can keep the perimeters of your festival site secure:

Industrial gates and fencing

Industrial gates and tall, strong fencing will keep people out of your festival, whilst still allowing access for deliveries and staff. This is important for keeping the right amount of people within the festival, as overcrowding could lead to disaster. 

It also ensures that people wishing to inflict harm or cause trouble can’t just stroll into your festival; instead, they’ll be redirected to your chosen access points which have security checks in place. With industrial gates and fences, trespassers will have a much harder time trying to sneak in, especially when paired with the other security measures below.

Commercial CCTV systems

CCTV acts as a deterrent to burglars and trespassers. If they know they’re on film, chances are they will be less likely to attempt a break-in for fear of being caught. This means your festival security staff won’t be stretched as thinly, since CCTV cameras put off most trespassers from even attempting the act. 

As well as deterring trespassers, CCTV can be used to monitor the perimeters in real-time, identifying any potential threats and allowing staff to act on it quickly. This means you have more eyes around your perimeter, whilst still having staff in on hand and ready to respond to emergencies. If anything does happen, the footage captured from CCTV will help you to identify the culprit and the crime. This is also a great way to analyse security risks and prevent them from happening again at your next festival.

Security staff

Having security staff planted around your festival’s perimeter will make it known that you have people on hand ready to respond to incidents. This will minimise opportunities for trespassers, and can also help make attendees feel safe within the festival. Your security staff deserves to be safe and comfortable too, so a security kiosk is perfect for this use. Kiosks keep your staff protected from people and the elements, and give them a more comfortable working environment.

2. Access control

Access control is essential for planning a festival, as you need a solid entrance for people to come through and be subjected to security checks. This is key for crowd management, allowing you to control pedestrian flow in a safe and efficient manner. You need access control both inside and outside your festival, which we’ll dive into below.

Internal access control

Within your festival, there will be backstage areas, stages, and crew areas that shouldn’t be accessible to the public. There’s no need to plant staff at all of the entrances - an access control system will do all of this for you. Whether it’s number plate recognition for backstage deliveries, or you need advanced biometric fingerprint recognition to keep artists safe, this will help to cordon off certain areas within the festival. Especially if you have VIPs or famous celebrities on site, you will need to ensure there are strongly protected areas that fans and mobs cannot access. 

External access control

Access control is also essential for monitoring people entering and exiting the festival. Turnstiles are a great way to slow traffic flow, allowing your staff to grant entry only once bag searches and other security checks have been completed. If your festival has strict security requirements, you should use full height turnstiles that only allow access once each person has been thoroughly checked. This minimises the risk of people pushing past security staff or hopping over barriers into your festival.

3. Car park management

If your festival provides parking - be it to attendees or staff - you need good car park management in place. Festivals are notorious for people having their cars broken into or their windows smashed. So, it’s essential that you keep vehicles safe throughout the duration of your festival. You can keep car parks safe by upholding strong barriers around the perimeters, just like we outlined earlier. 

But the security of your festival car park is about more than just preventing vandalism - you need to be able to control who has access to the car park. This can be implemented through car park barriers and security bollards, which prevent unauthorised vehicles from entering the site. If you are selling car park passes, then a manual arm barrier can be operated by security personnel upon checking their pass. If your festival parking is available on a first come, first served basis, you’ll need a parking system that can automatically charge visitors for the length of their stay in your car park.

For larger festivals or ones with limited parking, you may need people in the streets to direct traffic and cause as little disruption as possible. For advice on doing so, read our guide on how to manage traffic in an organised way.

4. Emergency response

Festivals can be highly targeted events for people wishing harm on others. It’s important to take these threats seriously, and develop an emergency response plan for the worst case scenario. If you are running a popular festival or have high-profile attendees, you may need to consider anti-terrorism and road security systems. For example, if CCTV detects a hostile vehicle approaching the festival site, employing a crash tested road blocker will stop the vehicle from ploughing into people and property. Of course, this is an unlikely crisis scenario, but when planning festival security, you must take all possibilities into account.

You should also have an emergency response plan in place for medical issues. Ensure security staff are briefed on how to reach all areas of the festival site, including getting to the middle of a crowd if necessary. Make sure that first aid supplies and personnel are available at all times.

5. Lighting

Lighting will help your other security measures, such as CCTV, work a lot better. But good lighting will also make everyone at your festival feel much safer. Particularly for camping festivals, well-lit campsites can reduce the risk of harassment, assault and theft, keeping your festival attendees protected. Therefore, you should keep both the perimeters and the insides of your festival site covered by good lighting in order to prevent crime. 

6. Security staff

On top of the effective security systems your festival should have in place, you will also need plenty of festival security staff. They will help with bag searches, access control, and helping your festival to run more smoothly overall. You should ensure that all security staff are thoroughly trained and briefed on all of your security measures, emergency procedures, and any other information they need to know. When employing security staff, always make sure that you choose reputable agencies or companies whose staff won’t abuse their power and make your festival unsafe. 

Festival planning isn’t easy, which is why having the right security systems in place can make things run so much smoother. With a simple security system installation process, you can focus on the many other tasks needed to plan a successful festival. Want us to take the security stress off your hands? Get in touch with an expert for a friendly helping hand throughout your festival planning.