Insights: Festival Security

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We are once again approaching high season for music festivals. Although they come in all shapes and sizes, a few things ring true to most festivals and their organizers when it comes to security.

First, while the spaces festivals occupy vary in size and location, many don’t have permanent structures for events. Lots of festivals take place in parks, beaches or grass fields. Therefore, everything must be built from scratch and then taken away after the event. This can be problematic when considering security for an event. It comes as no surprise that most festival security operations rely on personnel, rather than on equipment. Large festivals require thousands of people to operate smoothly, and it can put a strain on the security budget. Personally, I’ve yet to visit a festival where equipment like x-rays or metal detectors were used prominently.

Second, huge crowds pack the grounds: lines for food and toilets, as well as entrance lines, can stretch out far and create crowds, which are easy targets for people who are out to hurt others. In addition to that, managing huge numbers of people is difficult in open spaces, where guards can’t be everywhere at once. Accidents happen and fights break out, all while you also have to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. I think festival security guards don’t get enough credit for all they do for us while we have a good time.

Third, preventing entry from intruders can be difficult and requires careful planning. Especially areas that are large in size can provide many access points for people who might be up to no good. Not only do the personnel need to be constantly alert, other perimeter solutions should be considered to prevent unauthorized people from getting to the festival site. In addition, people who don’t intend to get to the festival but might hang around the area will need to be monitored too. They could be a danger to others but they won’t pass through any of the traditional checkpoints, making it more difficult to judge what they might be carrying.

Finally, making sure no one is carrying contraband into the festival area is a major struggle with traditional check points. Festival goers are very clever how they hide their forbidden items, and they don’t want to be held up at the entrance for a long time. Therefore, screening incomers and their bags should be quick but thorough, and this can be hard to achieve with traditional methods.

Asqella’s ARGON can screen almost 2,000 people in an hour for hidden contraband. Ideal for people screening in crowded urban areas, ARGON is efficient and nonintrusive solution for festivals and other events. You can read more about ARGON here and about ARGON’s applications here.