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Hazards Posed by Live Outdoor Music Festivals

Outdoor music festivals are often held on bare earth, but those responsible for organizing such affairs should make sure people can move about and around safely. Actually there are many known hazards posed by live music festivals, of which the most recent example was the tragic crowd surge in Travis Scott’s Astroworld Music Festival.

Although every music festival strives to be different, they share common risks; many of them foreseeable and therefore need to be addressed with mitigation measures and tools during the planning stage. In Scott’s case, the rapper himself already posed foreseeable risks, having a history of being charged twice for inciting the audience to carry on with unruly behavior, such as overrunning security and breaching barriers.

Some Important Aspects to Consider When Planning for Music Festivals

During the planning stage and discussion sessions, members of the event team should take up their roles in case of emergency situations. Questions must be asked in order to establish the tools and measures to put in place to avoid, or at least minimize the serious impact of untoward incidents during the music festival.

Moreover, it’s important that there is a communication system in place between the person in charge, all functional leaders, as well as the musicians and performers on stage. Another critical aspect of planning a music festival is that of making certain members of functional teams have proper training and full understanding of the role they play during emergency situations.

Citing the stage manager and crew as an example, it’s important to have a clear communication plan between them in case of last minute discoveries of defects found in riggings, wirings, bracings, anchors and other features securing the stage and whatever has been loaded into it. In the event of high winds and heavy rains there should be quick communication among the crew to make sure there are no exposed electrical wires that could result to shorting or electrocution.

Yet there is one important hazard that not a few event organizers overlook, which although not necessarily dangerous and unsafe, can have a long lasting negative effect on the environment. In addition to wastes, intensive energy consumption and emissions of vehicles used by attendees, outdoor music festivals impact the environment in terms of soil degradation and possible contamination.

How do Music Festivals Cause Soil Degradation

Soft soil that gets trampled on and kicked about by a multitude of dancing attendees, needs to be protected against ground agitation that degrades the quality of the soil structure.

Music festivals held on soft grounds will have audience stomping, dancing or jumping, whilst trampling, kicking and compacting the soil. Soil compaction causes degradation as clumped particles have greater density, which reduces the porosity of the soil. Compacted soil has increased resistance to water penetration, which when broken down by force by way of tillage, destroys the structure of the soil.

A proactive approach to protecting soft ground soil during music festivals is to use in crane mat as ground protection. Crane mats can be purchased and then stored for the next upcoming outdoor music festival, or they can be rented.

Investing on a ground protection equipment for music festivals can help save money if the lease contract for the property requires putting the ground back to its original condition after every event. Otherwise, festival organizers are at risks of facing claims for costs of environmental reinstatement.