September 16


A Checklist for Festival Planning and Crowd Management

Safety should be a top priority for every large-scale event. However, this can be a daunting task for organizers when many people attend a large outdoor venue, such as a festival.


Here are some crowd control safety tips to reduce the chance of injuries caused by aggressive attendees, rowdy crowds, and the need for security to disperse such activity.


Safety 101: How to Plan a Festival

Ample preparation, a team of dependable staff, and implementation of a festival event management plan will ensure a safe and community-enriching festival. Minimize the risk of injury in a negligent security situation by hiring adequate security personnel and following necessary safety measures.

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Start by considering your audience, your goals, and your venues. What audience are you expecting at the festival? Do you expect them to be well-behaved?


Considering the performers and hosts of the event, is the festival likely to attract a rough crowd? Identify all risks and create appropriate safety measures to reduce overcrowding or aggressive behavior.


Security and Crowd Management Strategies

Help attendees maintain distance from each other by implementing crowd control methods, such as using chains to create a queuing system for social distancing. Security will help protect against external threats and must be present at every stage, at the entrance, exit, outside of the venue, concession stands, and primary areas.

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Creating a Customized Event Planning Checklist

Creating a successful festival requires the management of staff and volunteers. The following seven-step festival planning checklist can provide you with a baseline for planning a successful and safe event.


  1. Review and implement current COVID-19 public health and safety regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and Management (CDC).
  2. Create clear, attainable goals, such as increased ticket sales compared to the previous year, having an 80% return in prior attendees, growing food and beverage sales by 30%, or increasing the number of musicians and artists performing at the festival by 18%.
  3. Determine the festival’s budget based on the above goals. Consider the following expenses:
  • Venue
  • Entertainment
  • Catering
  • Sanitary facilities
  • Staffing
  • Health and safety, including barriers, cleaning, grounds upkeep, and COVID-19 health procedures.
  • Security
  • Trained medical staff
  • Local permits
  • Compliance with police and emergency protocol
  1. Secure the venue location. Select a site that is accessible and matches the experience that you want to deliver. The venue should be accessible by public transit, have ample, and can accommodate more vendors and attendees than the year before.
  2. Confer with security professionals to determine safety protocol. Hire a security team and a professional medical team to work with the staff to prepare for any severe safety issues.
  3. Create and contact a list of desired entertainment vendors and artists. Look for new innovative attractions. Start booking these individuals and build a festival schedule. Send the vendors and artists a festival schedule along with edits as needed.
  4. Market your festival. Utilize different marketing channels to target specific demographics, including pay-per-click advertisements, social media, giveaways, influencer sponsorships, local media, and email marketing.
  5. Hire on-site staff and coordinate volunteers to help you implement your festival management plan. Here are tips for creating a management strategy to execute a successful event using volunteers and staff:
  • Create a list of specific tasks needed to run a successful festival
  • Create detailed volunteer descriptions and schedule to ensure a well staffed, safe, and clean festival.
  • Post on-site staff and volunteer opportunities on the website’s event page.
  • Equip the staff and volunteers with schedules, event maps, and communication tools for questions and updates to ensure smooth festival communication between coordinators, volunteers, and staff.
  1. Draft a festival schedule keeping safety as a core component. When the festival’s talent, staff, and volunteers are secure, review the event schedule, logistics, and details. Post and print maps that display parking areas, eating areas, emergency exits, bathroom facilities, evacuation routes, safety instructions, and emergency procedures.
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Avoid Potential Worse Case Scenarios

Emergencies can always arise. It would be best if you had an emergency plan in place so that the events staff can protect attendees while remaining calm. Consider worst-case scenarios like a shooting, stage collapse, fire, vehicle driving into a crowd, or a huge fight.


Create a contingency plan for every worst-case scenario. The plan should include:


  • Emergency service contacts
  • Evacuation strategy
  • Specific roles for staff and volunteers within the plan
  • Emergency first aid tents
  • Oversight by trained medical staff
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