The Complete Guide To Safety & Security At Festivals

Festival season is one that’s a key fixture of summertime across the globe. From large-scale music events like Glastonbury and Coachella that attract huge crowds, to smalltown celebrations that drive a much-needed economic boost, the scope for these events is massive.

It makes sense, then, that security would be a significant consideration for both festival goers and those who spend the time planning and organising the event.

But what kind of security is needed for such a diverse attraction, and how does that factor into keeping guests, performers and staff safe across the duration of the event?

As one of the UK’s frontrunners in the security sector, Churchill fully understands the rigours of providing robust and professional security for a festival, and how pivotal an aspect it is for your event. Here, we’ll break down every consideration from a security perspective, and why this forms part of an integral part of planning for a festival.


5 Key Reasons Why Festival Security Is Essential

While attendees often don’t consider the meticulous planning and organisational work that goes into creating a robust festival security plan, it’s an area that you simply cannot afford to neglect. Here’s just 5 of the main reasons why security at a festival is a vital part of what you need to consider.


1. Patrolling Site Boundaries

Arguably one of the most important factors to consider for any outdoor event, and especially so for festivals, having security personnel that can patrol the boundaries of your festival grounds is absolutely essential.

With events like music festivals attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors, and commanding a substantial premium for admission, it’s natural that you’ll have people who attempt to trespass or gain entry to your event without paying.

Festival security guards are specifically deployed to guarantee the integrity of your site’s perimeter, and stop any possible trespassers at the first signs of trouble. These mobile officers are expertly trained in conflict de-escalation techniques, and can help in averting an unwanted situation before it can ever develop into something more serious.


2. Prohibiting Access To Off-Limits Areas

All festivals and outdoor performances will naturally have off-limits sections. This ranges from backstage areas, to staff-only zones, to storage facilities for equipment and staging kit, with all of them requiring bespoke and often nuanced solutions.

Protecting these areas is essential, and further guarantees the smooth running and efficient operation of all areas of your festival, particularly when it comes to securing essential equipment can be set up and deployed effectively.

Your festival security guards are the ideal countermeasure to anyone who intends to harm or otherwise hinder your festival preparations. These expertly trained operatives can monitor key access points, and stop the admission of any unauthorised visitors.

This is particularly effective in conjunction with robust and high-tech festival access control solutions, which encompasses simpler options (such as I.D. badges), as well as the very cutting edge of security technology (inclusive of facial recognition and biometric entry).


3. Monitoring Entrances & Exits

Of course, one of the most integral parts of your festival site are the designated entrances into your grounds. This is especially important for sites that have separated camping areas and performance areas, such as music festivals or multi-day events.

Your entrances act as the first point of contact for your guests, and ensure that only those who’ve purchased tickets can gain entry to your site. You’ll need a comprehensive ticket scanning system, as well as a flowing system to ensure the smooth transition of guests.

Festival security is a crucial part of this process, scanning tickets and directing guests where appropriate. This is applicable to festivals of all sizes, although it naturally has more of an integral role at larger or more sprawling events.


4. Searching Bags & Confiscating Prohibited Items

A critical component of any safe and secure entrance procedure at a festival involves searching bags and any other luggage your guests may be bringing with them. Security at a festival must be thoroughly vigilant to ensure that drugs don’t slip through the net, especially as recent statistics point towards an uptick in drug-related offences post-Covid.

Of course, while drugs are a huge cause for concern, they aren’t the only thing that festival security need to be vigilant for. Alcohol, weapons, glass containers and flammable materials are all contraband items for the vast majority of festivals and, as an event organiser, you need to ensure that these don’t make their way onto site.

With effective festival security guarding, you can rest easy in the knowledge that your grounds are kept as secure and safe as possible, and that no forbidden items can make their way onto your property.


5. Monitoring Movement On Your Festival Site

Naturally, once your guests have been safely admitted to your site, there’s still more that your festival security can help with. Guards at a festival or event will have an intimate knowledge of where things are, and can provide guidance and information to your guests when they most need it.

These guards will also be able to prevent any blockages or slowdown of your attendees, and ensure that, once guests have come in, they’ll be able to move freely around the attractions and stages that you’ve laid out for them.

Plus, having guards on site who’ve got an excellent level of familiarity with your unique site means you can enjoy the fruits of your labours, and watch everything you’ve meticulously planned unfold.


Which Areas At A Festival Need The Most Security?

Of course, as we’ve just seen, every inch of your festival should have some form of security presence. Whether that’s patrols around the boundaries of your site, or at the entrance to your grounds, there’s a clear and pressing need to have robust and comprehensive security measures in place.

However, as a general rule, there are a few areas that are in more dire need of strengthened security than others. This includes:

  • Entrances – Scanning tickets, searching bags, and guiding your guests to the appropriate areas are all essential parts of a complete festival security package, especially at larger or more heavily-trafficked events.
  • Backstage Or Restricted Areas – With celebrity guests and valuable equipment being just two of the main things that need to be protected, the confidential areas of your festival need to be kept that way at all costs.
  • Bars & Food Service Areas – Often an area where many people congregate, bars and food service areas (such as burger vans or mobile kitchens) are a hotspot where security is absolutely essential.
  • Stages – When you’ve got hundreds or even thousands of people waiting to see an act, ensuring the integrity of any barriers is crucial. Security here can also help prevent any injuries or crushes, and ensure that other misbehaviour (such as mosh pits or scuffles) are dealt with swiftly and effectively.

It’s crucial to keep in mind, though, that all festivals are different, and will likely have their own areas that are more in need of effective security coverage. It’s a certainty, however, that you’ll need strong security in at least one of the examples we’ve provided above.


What Duties Do Festival Security Guards Undertake?

As one of the more in-demand and sought-after forms of security, festival security guards have an extensive and diverse range of duties they’ll be expected to undertake. As standard, they will:

  • Patrol the boundaries of your festival grounds, inclusive of car parking and camping areas
  • Search bags and guests upon their entry to your event
  • Internal security, such as monitoring crowds, bar security, and protecting stages
  • Preventing unauthorised access to restricted or unsafe areas
  • Maintaining the flow of crowds through busy areas
  • Communicating with crowds, event organisers and other security personnel
  • Providing guidance and information to anyone who needs it

Of course, there’s multiple duties that extend beyond that core skillset, but these will often be tailored towards your unique circumstances, and the demands of your event.

Choosing Churchill For Your Festival Security

With such a broad range of aspects to consider when planning for the security of your festival, it’s essential you choose a provider that’s not only capable of accommodating those needs, but doing so in an all-encompassing package.

With Churchill, we’ve got a robust, 3 step process that takes your festival or event from little to no existing security, to a fully planned, meticulous service that’s specifically designed with you and your unique circumstances in mind.


1. We’ll Build Your Event Security Management Plans

A huge part of securing a festival are those initial management plans. While you may have a complete knowledge of the layout and overall map of your festival grounds, it’s often another step entirely to consider the security presence you’ll need.

That’s where Churchill truly begin to excel. With our dedicated team of Events experts, we’re one of very few security companies to be able to provide a comprehensive, tailormade plan for the security of your festival.

We’ll be in constant contact throughout this and every stage of your contract with us, ensuring that we’re as knowledgeable about the specifications of your festival or event as you are. It’s part of the custom-built approach we take to every security project we undertake.

As part of this, we’ll provide tailormade security information on:

  • Staff training and qualifications
  • Entry and ejection policies, including procedures on alcohol, drugs and other banned items
  • Policies on searching, including any prohibited items
  • Crowd management and plans for ingress and egress
  • Risk assessments
  • Plans for any emergency situations or major incidents

We’ll use this information, in conjunction with any further factors you’d like us to consider, to create an event security plan from the ground up.

This also encompasses the very latest in Counter Terrorism and large events planning guidance from the UK government.


2. We’ll Discuss Your Plans In-Depth

As part of our commitment to keeping channels of communication open and active, we’ll keep in regular contact as we work on the plans for your bespoke festival security package. Once they’re finished, you’ll naturally have the final say.

This is a key component of our process. We’re firm believers that, while we’ll get to know your event inside and out, nobody can understand its constraints and its selling points in the same way you do. Plus, our discussions don’t necessarily over the phone or a video call.

As part of the whole process, we’ll take the time to visit your site personally, ensuring that we not only have the drawn-up plans and visual overview of the site, but that we’re completely familiar with the security we’ll be providing.

Seeing the site in person also gives us the opportunity to get to know you. Festivals are often on a recurring, annual basis, and we’re naturally keen to ensure that we’re your chosen provider for years to come, and that we’re the right match for each other.


3. We’ll Start Mobilising Your Security Solution

This is where the wheels really start to turn, and when you can gain a more concrete understanding of how we work, and what you’ll be receiving by choosing Churchill. We’ve got a few different factors in this regard that really set us apart.

We’re in the Top 0.1% of all ACS-approved security providers. An independently audited metric, this certifies us to be an exceptional provider, and one that’s been able to provide consistent, tailormade security solutions across a range of different sectors, industries and events.

This is unparalleled across other festival security providers, and it’s a figure we’re exceptionally proud to have achieved over the last 3 years. We can provide, and have provided, security solutions that are completely scalable to exactly what you need.

We’ve got a huge network of security operatives. Not only does this mean that we can offer festival security coverage regardless of where you’re based, it also means that we’re in the perfect position to offer huge-scale security solutions – an absolute must when considering the often massive scope of festivals and other events of that nature.

We can provide 24/7/365 coverage. Festivals, regardless of their size, are very rarely a self-contained event, with preparation in the days leading up to the event itself, and often spanning multiple days or over the course of a weekend.

With Churchill’s expansive Communications Centre, you’ll have constant contact across your event, providing you with the reassurance and safety net you need to run an event that’s true to what you envisioned.

We operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and are always on hand with the support and guidance you need. Our guards are also able to be deployed throughout the day, and our extensive network means we can offer 24/7 guarding and patrolling across the duration of your festival.


4. We’ll Enact Your Detailed Security Plan

Of course, now that we’ve rigorously planned and discussed your security plans, we’ll start implementing the solutions we’ve agreed upon. This is where we truly start to shine, and where you can really see the extensive benefits of choosing Churchill for your festival security needs.

You’ll have access to the full scope of our professional Communications Centre, as well as our expertly trained security operatives on site, all of whom have had extensive training across a huge range of areas.

They’ll be perfectly positioned to ensure all of the duties we mentioned earlier are carried out to the highest possible degree of effectiveness, and with consummate professionalism throughout. That also extends to the de-escalation of conflict or trouble, and maintaining a good flow of people and staff throughout the duration of your event.

You’ll have the support of our guards and other personnel throughout the duration of your festival, as well as in the aftermath to ensure the safe and secure removal of stages, equipment, and vehicles from the grounds.

All of this is included as part of your price, and we’re more than happy to discuss any and all additional services throughout your contract with us. If you’re keen to get started now, get in touch with our knowledgeable operatives today!

John Melling

Group Chief Executive Officer

John has a proven track record for motivating and leading high performance teams and has helped mentor and develop many people at Churchill who now hold key or senior positions within the business. John is committed to delivering only the finest services, exercising compelling leadership, maintaining good internal morale and striving to resolve any challenges efficiently and effectively.