WHO IS THIS FOR?
Small to medium-sized gatherings, events, festivals.
We believe these simple conceptual tips could be employed to help make an event safer.
EMA is proud to be working on a project with the Entertainment Services & Technology Association (ESTA) and Event Safety Alliance (ESA) that will supersede these recommendations when complete.
All gatherings should have a plan. We call this an "Event Safety Management Plan" or "ESMP".
ESMP 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 coordinator".
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 the beginning of the event.
These plans should take into account local law enforcement & emergency service regulations, in addition to the history of the location.
Confirmation of the "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 coordinator, consideration should be taken for preventative health and safety measures that may include consideration of damaging high decibel sound to attendees and wildlife which might then include a recommendation on the positioning of speakers and monitors. There should be plans to provide hearing protection to workers and event attendees upon request. For more health and safety considerations, please refer these guides.
For a more thorough planning guide:
For tips on fire safety, please visit:
5) Rest/ Relaxation
There should be some activities or areas set up to encourage event attendees to occasionally rest and cool down. This should include a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing relaxation area. These areas should be supervised by the harm reduction staff.
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, and paths for foot traffic should be reviewed with full capacity in mind to evaluate for bottlenecks, crowding and blocking emergency vehicles. All large areas should have emergency vehicle access and fire exits and 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 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 of the boundaries of the party to ensure 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.
For outdoor areas during high temperatures, misters should be considered for cool-down areas (with risk assessment of electrical equipment and outlets).
8) Talent Management
Before arrival, all talent should have travel and accommodations. All talent and their management teams, should be provided an appropriate event staff contact for requests and emergencies.
Headliners should be assigned a dedicated staff member. Consistency is recommended. Executive assistance skills are key.
Crisis Intervention should have a plan for medical transports to-and-from various places inside the festival, including all stages & living quarters.
Cab & van companies should be consulted or enlisted in advance to ensure sober driving of festival attendees to various transport locations or parking lots.
Additionally, (and if applicable) 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.
& Janitorial plan
"Leave No Trace"
We saved the best for last!
Clean up crews, MOOP (matter out of place) patrol & sustainability plans should be in place before build-out of the 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.
Spilled drinks are common, wet floors and crushed bottles on a dancefloor can be hazards. A janitorial individual or staff, or roving volunteers should be trained to make regular rounds of the event space to identify hazards related to clean-up maintenance.
Note: This is during the event and therefore in addition to a post-event 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
Social Media and Messaging Guide for Organizers + Attendee Ambassadors
ELECTRONIC MUSIC ALLIANCE (EMA)
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 from 2007-2016.
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.