Two contrastingly different festivals but one collective security and safety operation orchestrated by crowd management specialist Showsec ensured it was a memorable time for more than 100,000 revellers attending a unique double-header in London’s Victoria Park over the same weekend. Indeed, the successful staging of the Lovebox and Citadel Festivals in a 72-hour period was due largely to the collaborative planning, preparation and execution of all those engaged to provide vital services under the direction of event organiser MAMA.
Showsec has received specific recognition for the company’s significant contribution to that success story, not only in terms of the positive effect that its input had upon the events themselves but also on the local community in Hackney.
MAMA had placed great emphasis on pro-actively addressing issues which had arisen at Lovebox in 2014. The positive outcome this time around was very much the product of a high level of collaboration and new safety and security measures put in place for 2015.
A notable example of how well the different agencies worked so effectively together was the close liaison with the Metropolitan Police Service. Many stakeholders were involved, including the local authority and residents groups.
“We’re delighted with how both events went overall,” said Dave McCalmont, event director at MAMA. “The outstanding performance from Showsec’s staff and management throughout played an integral part in their success. A close working relationship during months of planning was the key to delivering such a successful operation across both of these events.”
Strong management infrastructure
This was the fourth year that Showsec has been involved with Lovebox, while Citadel was very much a new addition to the company’s festival scene. The operation across both events involved a strong management infrastructure directing more than 600 staff who were deployed for each day, but there was also a strong focus on the additional measures introduced.
“Though the two festivals were very different in many respects, the common aim was to provide a safe and secure environment in which everyone there to have a good time could enjoy themselves,” commented Steve Reynolds, Showsec’s regional manager for the South of England who served as head of security for Lovebox and Citadel.
“We put in place measures to improve the look and feel of the event in terms of customer safety and all the feedback has been very positive. There have been a lot of comments on how much more people enjoyed Lovebox this year. This could not have been achieved without all the agencies coming together and working so well to deliver such an effective operation.”
Reynolds went on to state: “This all developed over seven months of planning where there was considerable emphasis on working with the community and the local authority to reduce anti-social behaviour in the areas around Victoria Park. In recognising residents’ concerns about the event, an additional 150 staff and response teams were deployed in external areas. Inside the venue, there was a reduction in crime and incidents which highlighted the effectiveness of added security measures.”
In addition, Reynolds told Risk UK: “Not only did we did make a number of changes to the site layout, in particular the main entrance and the perimeter fence, but there was a heightened search protocol implemented when people were entering the venue. This involved a preliminary ticket check, a full search, an enhanced drugs search and the use of detection dogs.”
Two very different scenarios and audiences
The festival double-header began with Lovebox at which top acts Rudimental and Snoop Dog were the headline performers, attracting a 40,000 sell-out crowd on the Saturday, while there almost as many there for Friday’s festivities.
This was followed by Citadel on the Sunday. This is a new event from the awarding-winning creators of Wilderness Festival and Superfly. Headlined by Ben Howard and Bombay Bicycle Club, it celebrated the pleasures of a summer Sunday afternoon with stages curated by Communion and Soundcrash together with a wealth of dining, dancing, arts and culture experiences.
The strength of Showsec’s management team for both Lovebox and Citadel involved Reynolds being supported by director Simon Battersby (ELT representative), regional manager Scott Anderson (entrance manager) and area managers Paul Legge (security manager), Dayo Adelugba (arena manager) and Louise Stockden (Security Control Room manager).
With so much emphasis also placed on the external areas as well, operations executives Andrew Agnew (external/perimeter areas manager) and Harry Thorn (ingress/egress manager) fulfilled key roles, while Marcin Szyperski served as project and logistics manager.