Canadian Security Magazine

Festival security: Logistics – putting it all together

By Barry Wilding and Ken Hoggart   

Features Opinion Risk Perspective festival security

Government agencies at all levels have their eye on the music festival industry and are working closely with promoters and producers of major events to make sure that best practises are followed. The goal is to ensure the public and others that the event will be safe and enjoyable for all that attend, as well as for the host community.

Remember, producing a major music festival is a massive undertaking. So is securing one. Meet with your client well in advance of the event so that you can start your operational planning as soon as possible. You will have a lot of ground to cover and a lot of prep work to get you ready.

Here are a few tips:

• Establish your client’s expectations. How do they perceive security and security’s function at their event? It is important to know your role and function.
• Assemble an experienced management team. There is no substitution for experience, especially if you have a very large security workforce for your event that will require a large supervisory staff.
• Prepare a comprehensive safety & medical plan. Follow industry best practices. This is a critical document that will be presented to stakeholders and used for emergency management planning and response.
• Liaise with the stakeholders and first responders (police, fire, EMS). Conduct pre-festival meetings with stakeholders and key players of the event. Share as much information as you can. Work together as partners.
• Test your emergency management plan. Conduct tabletop exercises and work through various “what if” scenarios. Plan for the unexpected.
• Do a final reality check. What else could go wrong? Hope for the best and plan for the worst.

This is part four of a four-part web series on festival security. Parts one through three are available here:


Festival security: anticipating the unexpected

The components of planning a successful festival

Festival planning: Due diligence and risk mitigation

Barry Wilding is a licensed security consultant with twenty years of concert, festival and major event experience (

Ken Hoggart is a security trainer, consultant, and operations manager for various security companies and promoters throughout Canada (

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