Event Recap: ESA Crowd Safety Symposium

Festivals, concerts, conferences, graduations, and athletic events all share one common characteristic – they all feature crowds. If your work involves planning to accommodate large groups of people, you need to know how to plan to mitigate these risks and keep your crowds safe.

This past April, ESA welcomed UK-based crowd safety expert Eric Stuart for the Crowd Safety Symposium, a series of four 2-day workshops focused on understanding and planning for crowds. Taking place in Chicago, Nashville. Austin, and Los Angeles, the Symposium focused on the four aspects of basic crowd safety and provide techniques to plan and manage safe pedestrian flows in crowded places during all phases of an event.  

Subject matter discussed included the differences between crowd management and crowd control, phases of crowds and their psychology, and the human behaviors that affect crowds. The workshops provided attendees with a primer on calculating crowd density and flow rates, reinforcing the material with several interactive (and often humorous) exercises.

Those in attendance represented a broad array of industry sectors, including festivals production, security, and public safety. Generous with his time, Eric stayed well after the close of each date to discuss individual questions and provide insight from his decades-long experience in crowd safety planning and management.  

“Eric went above and beyond with the information,” stated Chief John Benn with the Los Angeles Fire Department. “With all the Special Events we approve in the City of Los Angeles his teaching will certainly be used where needed during the approval process.”

Festival Director Mike Hanley concurred with Chief Benn’s assessment on the applicability of the information. “This was a fantastic event.  I'm taking a lot of what I learned and applying it immediately to my future events. I only hope you all keep doing this so more people can benefit.”

Additional workshops are currently being planned for late 2018. Please visit the ESA website at http://eventsafetyalliance.org for updates.

Jacob Worek