Before you start
EMA Recommends you appoint or hire a health and safety "lead"
Although event organizers can be the "health and safety lead", EMA recommends there is one more competent person responsible for event safety at the event. The "health and safety lead" should be in charge of health and safety of the entire event. This person should be the lead in a chain of command if health and safety responsibilities are delegated to other event team members. The "lead" should either be in charge of or at least part of a larger event safety management plan team (ESMP team) and understand and be able to effectively execute ESMP protocol. This protocol should include but is not limited to:
Team member to interface with EMTs, Police Department, Fire Department, Event Security & Harm reduction staff. Should be experienced and competent manager, able to be a point of contact with all different risk management & event staff teams.
This person should be identified in the ESMP and be appointed or hired by the "Health and Safety Lead" (if not the lead) for the event.
All gatherings should have a plan. We call this an "Event Safety Management Plan" or ESMP.
(ESMP) that includes considerations for the health and safety of attendees at their events. The ESMP should include a risk assessment and should also identify the "health and safety "lead".
We recommend frequent planning meetings even for small gatherings. For larger events disaster (rain, wind, fire, natural disaster) plans should be considered and drawn up, reviewed, and discussed with pertinent teams before build out or gathering.
These plans should take into account local law enforcement & emergency service regulations, in addition to the history of the grounds the event is occurring on. Additionally, confirmation of "command chain" in emergency situations is critical. All team members associated with this should be assumed to be "on-Comm" for the duration of the event and should be vetted accordingly.
For the health and safety lead, consideration should be taken for preventative health and safety measures that may include consideration of damaging high decibel sound to attendees and wildlife, a positioning of speakers and monitors, and hearing protection provided to workers and event attendees upon request. For more health and safety considerations, please refer to our guide.
For a more thorough planning guide:
For tips on fire safety, please visit:
5) Rest/ Relaxation
Activities should be set up encouraging festival goers to engage in low energy manner, including a comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing relaxation area. These areas should be supervised by the harm reduction staff.
These are places to help encourage or provide a place for dance-hot event goers to cool down. Misters (away from electricity) should be looked into for events that are known to be hot or are expecting hot temperatures.
This is part of risk assessment. All roads/walkways/paths for foot traffic should be reviewed with full population in mind to evaluate for bottlenecks, crowding and blocking emergency vehicles. All large areas should have emergency vehicle access in addition to fire exits/paths clearly marked. Signage for fire exits and bathrooms should be made if not already available. Battery powered exit signs can be bought (make sure batteries are working). The signs should be big, bold/ easy to read, perhaps with a reflective paint or tape being utilized if the signs do not light up. Be mindful of anything you hang up. Fire Department standards should be complied with fully. Upon closing, security should always walk all boundaries the party were in and could have gone to, ensuring no one gets left behind. Please read the Event Safety Alliance guidebook for more specific recommendations.
All enclosed spaces need to have dedicated temperature control, especially when indoors. When outside, adequate shade needs to be provided to ensure the sun doesn't significantly affect the dance floor and crowded areas. Again, for outdoor areas during high temperatures, misters should be considered in certain "cool down" spaces.
8) Talent Management
All talent should have plans for arrival/accommodation confirmed before arrival. Headliners should have individual handlers, with talent of every level confirmed to have an internal contact that they/their management can connect with before they arrive/once they're on site. Consistency & executive assistance skills here are key.
Crisis Intervention should have a plan for medical transports to-and-from various places inside the festival, including all stages & living quarters. Additionally, cab & van companies should be consulted/enlisted to ensure sober driving of festival attendees to various transport locations/parking lots. Additionally, local law enforcement should be worked with to ensure the volume of traffic associated with the end of a medium sized festival/concert doesn't disrupt traffic patterns & local roadways.
10) Maintenance/Janitorial plan
Clean up crews, MOOP (matter out of place) patrol & sustainability plans should be in place before build out of event. Plans for consistent trash removal, vomit clean up, & general janitorial duties need to be on paper with either 3rd party vendors or a dedicated team lead to manage this. Wet floors can be a hazard and spilled drinks are common. Janitorial individual or staff should be trained to make regular rounds of the event space to identify hazards related to clean-up maintenance. Note: this is a separate module than break-down or strike crew. "Leave No Trace" should be the standard met without question.
About Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)
Protecting people, planet, parties
Event Safety Alliance (ESA) Guidebook
This was a very brief summary of some of the top tips we have for organizers when planning an event. These should not be looked at as standards. We highly recommend that all event organizers take the time to buy, read, and disseminate to production staff the Event Safety Alliance Guidebook. This guidebook delves further into deeper planning especially for larger events. Please visit the ESA website to acquire your book.
EMA is currently working with ESA and ESTA on actual industry standards for the music industry. This process will take possibly several years but is in process.
For a more in-depth best practices suggestion guide for DIY venues, please email us directly.
Social Media and Messaging Guide for Organizers + Attendee Ambassadors
ELECTRONIC MUSIC ALLIANCE (EMA)
Please check out our main website for more health and safety information at www.ema-global.org
We are a non-profit and global membership alliance of dance music fans, artists, and industry idealists.
We encourage our community to be the "Sound of Change."
We organize around issues important to the community like health, safety, greening, and giving back to our local communities through charitable works. We work to educate our community about these issues and create programs that offer fun & effective solutions.
Originally created in 2014, the main contributors to this tip guide were Janine Jordan and Terry Gotham.
Janine, recently held office for two years as a Neighborhood Council member for Mid-town North Hollywood.
She has been part of the dance music scene since 1999.
Extensively toured dance music clubs and festivals worldwide in the company of a global dance act since 2007.
She is the current Executive Director and has run the
Electronic Music Alliance since 2010.
As the former PR chair of New York's chapter of DanceSafe, Terry Gotham has tested drugs, provided harm reduction services, coordinated crisis intervention teams at large-scale warehouse & club parties, and lectured on these topics in the USA, Canada & the Netherlands for the last several years.