Entertee’s operations manager Dave Cahill weighs in with some thoughts on how to mitigate bad weather and terror threats at events.
Aside from developments within technology and limiting the environmental impact of events, there are two other areas that have been a primary focus for production teams and festival organisers: unpredictable weather and terror threats.
In 2017 and 2018, multiple festivals were cancelled due to unpredictable weather leaving festival-goers out of pocket, and festival organisers with the task of trying to mitigate against the financial and brand damage repercussions.
Whilst these Acts of God cannot be avoided, they can be prepared for. Festival organisers trying to manage tight budgets, however, often secure the essentials and try to hold back on the outlay of having additional infrastructure ‘just in case’, which is when they become exposed to the risk of having to shut down early if bad weather hits.
Whilst in the summer of 2018 the UK basked in unprecedented sunshine, there were the odd pockets of wet weather which caused havoc, with drainage of the rain on very dry and barren sites.
This was one of the factors taken into consideration when Entertee designed, developed and launched Ali-Mat in 2018. Entertee wanted to offer festival organisers a trackway product that could be quickly deployed in such conditions.
Being delivered in stillages, and requiring no specialised equipment or crew for install, the product can be laid to help get people on or off-site, which often becomes one of the main reasons that festivals are cancelled during the bad weather. As the Ali-Mat does not require specialised equipment and can be dry-hired it also means that the festival organiser is hiring in a product that is very cost-effective ‘just in case’ solution.
Entertee has also seen an increase of solid steel fencing being utilised by festivals over the last few years. Whilst part of the increase can be attributed to the fact that there are new festivals being launched year on year, a major factor is because a significant percentage of the festivals (especially those taking place in more city-based locations) are ramping up security as a result of attacks on the public like was seen at Wembley Arena in 2017 and on London Bridge.
Stepping up security measures
As well as the increased use of steel solid fencing at large-scale gatherings and events, some organisers have stepped up security by scaling upwards; utilising the T-Shield 3.4 meter solid steel fence as opposed to T-Hoard 2.4 meter steel fence. Both products have also increasingly been used to create road closures in city centres for large-scale events such as London’s New Year’s Even Fireworks and Manchester Pride.
The scale up in infrastructure combined with increased security throughout has been a new challenge for organisers over the last few years. All of this additional infrastructure required to deliver a safe event or react to an unpredicted emergency puts a strain on budget at a time when there is so much competition in this sector.
There were many factors we took into consideration when making a decision on the trakway products we were going to use on site and also the provider. Firstly, like all festivals we had to select the most cost-effective option, and 2018 being our first year this was even more of a focus.
However of equal importance, if not of more importance, we wanted to ensure that the most cost-effective solution would not mean having a substandard trakway product in use on site, or not enough.
We’ve all heard of stories where festivals have come unstuck in this situation and we did not want to make a decision based purely on cost and be at risk of lessening the overall customer experience or put our customers health and safety at risk if we had experienced poor weather.
So when selecting suppliers and products we needed to also qualify where they could have a positive impact on the efficiency of our site build process to help maximise budget.
For this reason one of the trakway products we utilised on-site was Entertee Hire’s newly launched Ali-Mat. The product is light weight but incredibly strong and can be laid very quickly and efficiently requiring a very small crew and a forklift.