Video Source : GHNow TV
Ecofest Salone 2018 was this past Friday and feedback has been mixed. Some have applauded the event organizer’s for the first of this sort of International music event in Sierra Leone. While others were not so impressed and complained of various issues. If you attended the event however or saw pictures of this event one thing we can all agree on is that turnout was good. So how do you plan to manage crowds at large music events?
In Sierra Leone many major events are hosted at the National Stadium. Typically guests are in the stands and on the field but there was a. incident were individuals where anywhere they could sit, stand and climb. Filling the stadium past it’s capacity and having poor crowd control can not only be dangerous in the event that there’s an emergency but having poor crowd control can affect the experience of event attendees. Which is why we thought it would be beneficial to share some tips for crowd management at such events in Sierra Leone.
- Know the mindset and motivations of your crowd and plan accordingly. In the case of Ecofest this event was meant to attract literally any and everyone in Sierra Leone that can afford to attend. Due to the fact that this event was held in the capital Freetown, it made it more likely that majority of the crowd would be those that live in the Capital. But like many places there are different socio and economic factors amongst the those that live in Freetown. Some are well off and might be there to genuinely have a good time. Some are not well off and are there to seize the opportunity of a large crowd to pickpocket and steal. Some might be there to relieve the stress of living in a country with high inflation and few economic opportunities. There are various reasons why your guests might be there. Which is why you need to think about what their motivations could be thoroughly and plan to counteract any motivation that would be considered anti-social and affect your ability to control the crowd.
- Limit alcohol access. There were several pictures posted on social media of individuals who were going to attend the event. Some of these pictures included large bottles of alcohol and the hash tag #ecofest. Because alcohol inhibits the senses, another tip would be to limit alcohol access. For example, there should been no outside alcohol allowed into the venue. Any alcohol available for consumption should have been sold at the event and in limited quantities at designated areas.
- Check guests for contraband and other items which you would not want at your event. This tip is a natural succession to tip #2. There should be checkpoints where each and every guest is checked before entering the venue for alcohol, drugs, knives and weapons. We understand that depending on your event you may not want to ruin the mood by limiting individuals access to things that are considered part of having a good time such as social drinking; but your event should be the good time! Guests should feel secure and as if they can have a good time without worrying about harm being done to them because of someone’s comprised mental state.
- Use security detail wisely. Guests should not feel overwhelmed by the presence of security especially if your security detail is not inconspicuous. At Ecofest we saw several police personnel on stage. This made certain artist appearances seem tense and chaotic as the police tried to keep guests from accosting the performers. Security should not block your audience from seeing performances and having a good time. They should be strategically stationed and ready to act. Two secuity personnel for every ten guests attending is recommended. Individuals should also feel empowered to report any suspicious activity and feel as if they know where to get help. Having the right amount of security and the manner in which you use them is an art more than it is a science. It all really goes back to knowing your audience.
- Keep access points to a minimum and keep ticket lines orderly and moving. It is important to have a control on access points to your venue so that unwanted guests do not enter your venue. Therefore while you might be tempted to have as many access points as possible, ask yourself whether one or two access points would suffice instead. But one or two access points with orderly and fast moving lines. We can’t stress enough that lines should be orderly and should move fast. This might mean having enough trained staff to check tickets, perform a brief security check and admit guests into the venue.
- Use barricades strategically. At Ecofest and other events at the National Stadium, we have noticed that guests are often allowed to stand extremely close to the stage depending on the ticket which they purchased. While stage area tickets are not a terrible idea, our final tip is that guests barricades should be used to control the crowds ability to access the stage. This way performers do not feel threatened, security personnel are not on edge and the jubiliant guests are not tempted to grab at the performers, climb on stage and act in a disorderly manner. We also noticed several individuals walking about on the field area. This should not happen. Guests should be limited to their seating areas based on their tickets.