Developing crowd management strategy at established music festivals ensuring risk mitigation: An exploratory study
Purpose This research explores the development of crowd management strategies at established music festivals, aiming to mitigate risk, from a practitioner’s perspective. Music festivals are popular spectacles which operate in a landscape currently facing a range of challenges and hazards such as crowd accidents, stampedes, adverse weather, terrorism, occupational health and safety risks, and personal injury. Festival organisers deploy a range of strategies in order to manage and control these crowds and ensure attendees move around safe spaces. This research explores the development of such strategies, roles and responsibilities regarding crowd management, and whether this is a shared or varied process across a variety of music festivals. Methodology and Design The researcher collected primary data for this project in the form of semistructured interviews. Seven event professionals participated in interviews which produced a total of 255 minutes of recorded and transcribed material. After transcription, this was analysed using a thematic analysis method. Findings Key results which emerged from this research demonstrated an industry capable of sustaining and understanding the nature in which it exists, developing crowd management strategy thereafter. The outcomes strongly correlate with relevant literature from the current body of knowledge whilst a number of findings were unexpected and after analysis, are presented as absent or underrepresented in event-related academia. Research Limitations This research faced limitations which could have potential effects on the outcome. The researcher’s previous experience with research projects, time constraints, and personal bias are some of these limitations and they are developed further in Chapter 3. Nonetheless, the researcher took all precautions available to ensure these limitations has a minimal impact on the results and these range from working closely with her supervisor on these issues, ensuring time management plans were adhered to and the thorough analysis of data using an approach which aims to minimize personal bias.