Yesterday welcomed event production and event safety people from around the world gather in real life at the Royal Garden Hotel in London for the ILMC Production Meeting & Event Safety and Security Summit. Personally it was great to be in 3D with old friends and colleagues and had great fun making new connections through nurturing ideas for how we can collectively improve safety for all.
Although I did not attend all panels, I picked up on some pertinent issues, changes and learnings that I believe can be shared now to enable others to prepare their events more effectively. In addition, as we discussed how we shape the future, further studies into certain areas were highlighted, which I will share to allow those who are conducting further research in event and crowd safety, to perhaps inspire with a few topics.
Please note these comments are the perceptions of panellists, delegates and me, so there will be no reference list. These musings are from notes I captured and so each topic is unrefined, include questions and some suggest further research is needed.
On Crowd Behaviour and planning for your audience profile
It appears in Western Europe that audiences attending live music concerts in arenas are becoming intoxicated earlier on in the evening/event than before the pandemic. Audience expectations appear to be higher - such as not expecting to queue for long periods of time - and then they have lower patience tolerance, can become angry and irritated when those expectations are not met. We have all found it difficult to restart the events industry only for our audience to treat us with irritation, anger and following up with complaints. A delegate shared an anecdote of comparing an event to walking through an airport and how we all have behaved with a low tolerance to waiting, instruction and search procedures. She reminded us to put ourselves in the place of the audience and how short our tempers can become when we are in this situation. So although it's never ok to lash out at someone, I think a shared understanding of how someone might feel can help us to find solutions that support both staff and audience alike.
Another panellist described how their security and safety staff were on the receiving end of heightened anger and disdain post-pandemic, and this was supported by a delegate who runs a cleaning company and shared how their staff experience mistreatment. It seems this heightened emption, tempers, anger and irritiaion is a pandemic itself and perhaps a result of being cooped up for two years and suffering the pain of losing loved ones and the collective pain of loss and feeling powerless to stop it? Further research could help to open this up.