Festival organizers are not just in charge of booking great bands; they also have specific duties and responsibilities to anyone attending their event. Keeping attendees safe is a top priority for anyone organizing a music gathering, whether it’s a one-day affair or a multi-day camping experience. Here is a rundown of what festival organizers are required to do to keep concertgoers safe.
Security and Medical Staffing
Any large gathering of people looking to cut loose and have fun undoubtedly needs someone in charge of maintaining order. A music festival needs security personnel to be stationed at entrances to search bags, check tickets, and make certain no illegal items or prohibited weapons are brought into the event. Additionally, a thorough and competent security staff should circulate throughout the festival grounds to ensure safety and make sure there’s no violence or illegal behavior. And while serious injuries or illnesses will need to be treated at a hospital, medical tents should have professionals on staff to treat minor issues like cuts and bruises or dehydration, as well as to recognize when a concertgoer needs additional medical care or an ambulance.
It may be expected that you’ll end up a little muddy by the end of any festival, but heading out into the woods for some music shouldn’t mean sacrificing basic cleanliness. This applies primarily to portable toilets that festivals are required to have serviced on a daily basis. Additionally, showers have become a popular option at many music festivals. These should also be sprayed out and sanitized. Generally, both these tasks can be performed by the vendor providing the facilities.
In August of 2018, the popular jam band Phish was set to kick off its three-day festival Curveball in Watkins Glen, New York. The group was preparing to head out onstage for its traditional soundcheck jam as festival-goers streamed through the gates when they were met with a surprising message: the festival was being cancelled. Due to excessive flooding in the area, the city had issued a water-boil advisory and the festival runners were charged with providing enough bottled water for the hundreds of thousands of people set to attend. When they were unable to meet those needs, the city pulled their permit and they were forced to send every fan home.
Festivals need to have access to potable drinking water to ensure all attendees and staff can stay hydrated throughout the weekend. While concerts may get away with charging high prices for bottled water, there still needs to be running water for people to fill jugs or containers. If the water is contaminated in any way this could lead to waterborne illnesses and a potential lawsuit against the organizer.
Though outdoor festivals get the beauty of mother nature as their backdrop, it also means they’re ultimately in her hands when it comes to weather conditions. Severe weather can crop up quickly, especially since many music festivals occur during the spring and summer months. While an event may be “rain or shine,” festival organizers need to have a contingency plan in place in case of thunderstorms, flooding, or tornadoes. This should include evacuation plans or temporary shelters, and this should be well understood by all staff working onsite.
One of the most crucial elements of a great festival is a visible, functional, and sturdy stage setup for artists to perform on. These are almost always provided by third-party companies who are responsible for setting it up, maintaining it during the event, and breaking it down. They are also in charge of confirming all parts are working correctly and that there are no structural issues. However, because the festival organizer hired this company, they too may be liable in case any issues happen with the stage, ranging from falling set pieces to a total collapse. Any breakdown in safety here could result in serious injury, something Hoosiers were witness to during the tragic stage collapse during the 2011 Indiana State Fair.
The Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Cline Farrell Christie & Lee want to help you get what you need to move forward in life with peace of mind. From listening to your story to fighting for you in court, we’re your advocates. If you or a loved one have been the victim of an unsafe music festival and believe you have a case, contact us today for a free consultation.