Music festival campsites


What is the next step?


In the UK  another year has pass and festival season is upon us again (this blog was produced in June 2014). The tickets have been sold, the bands booked, licences approved, plans in place and we have a green light.

Time to be honest with yourself; for your campsite plan, what did you change? Did you just dig out last year’s plan and dust it off and change the date? How many of you actually have a crowd management plan for the campsite?

It may seem that this is one area that is overlooked. It is kind of covered and an event plan is put in place, a stewarding and security deployment is created but do you create a crowd management plan? Is this something we just do for arenas? When you think about it, what is different about a campsite? If anything, the campsite is more complex.


The longer an event runs and is more established the more data we gather about the site. This should form part of the next years planning. This relates to site problems that need to be rectified, crowd disturbances, new products being brought to site to be used by customers, which areas are popular to camp in and those not so popular.

All of this should be recorded and debriefed before the planning commences for the next year’s event; after all the same team may not be there for the next event. There is reliance at events for continuity and the same people being there. That way the knowledge of the event is always there. But what happens when that knowledge is no longer there? Does is make a great difference when the crowd management company changes on a campsite?


Through a bit of thought and effort, the planning for next year should be well established and ready for developing. So how do you develop it?  Are there changes to the site, are there new areas being used, have the gates changed, the exits, the layout of the campsites? Is there changes to the transportation plan? What’s the weather going to be like? What’s the bands expected to play?

For every site there are a thousand small differences from any other site. The way the land moves, where the sun rises and sets or which toilets always overflow. It takes time to learn these, but with study this can be quickly understood. The same can be the said for the customers; the demographic and local behavioural types are unique to each festival.

So we can look and study the site, the plans and the customers; what else can we do to help during the course of the weekend. What are you doing to change the way you work, improve your delivery or service? Is there something you are doing that is at the cutting edge of the industry, are you ahead of the curve or are you like so many others, a sheep that follows on behind the rest?

Are sheep bad in this industry……not really? They are cautious and want to be sure that it works before implementing. That or they are lazy and not paying attention to what is happening around them in the industry and society in general.

It takes time and effort to stay up with the way society is moving and finding ways of using it fit in with your safety plans. It also takes time and effort to review these plans and now see if they are fit for purpose. The risk of changing a plan for something better, improved.



So how do you change?

What can you do to stay ahead of the curve or update at least.


You need to

Think for yourself!

It is your event, your customers, engage your brain and see what happens. I have tones of ideas, some tested and some in planning looking for that someone brave enough to say “let’s give it a go”. I could share them with you, but would you as a reader then end up being lazy and a sheep? It takes a bit of thought and research and god forbid time and effort, but all the answers are out there for you to find.


Look at what is going on around you in the industry and in society and can you use it?


Social Media

Computer simulation and modelling


Drones??? – Yip even drones are on the horizon.



Camping Equipment

All of these categories can assist you in some way. It is up to you to find out how to embrace them and use them to enhance your planning and operation. One should not make the mistake of letting any one element or a new fad override the planning that has taken years to build.


So maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe it’s time to focus on the less glamorous side of festivals, but the biggest part of the customer’s weekend. You can help make the weekend safer and you can push the industry forward. But that is up to you.

Blog by Mark McQuade.

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