Planning security for special events

December 16, 2015

Each year, thousands of people attend various major events, especially in summer. From sporting events to cultural exhibitions, these events must be effectively supervised to ensure a smooth flow of activities while offering an enjoyable experience to the participants

GardaWorld provides highly trained professionals specialized in event security management. An approach focused on customer service and professionalism makes them versatile when managing crowds. This is why the Canadian Grand Prix, Amnesia Rockfest and the Bal en Blanc, among others, trust GardaWorld.

With a strong experience in event security, Lavictoire Normand, Senior Director for Special Events, shares with us his expertise on the key elements to secure a music festival.


What are the primary security concerns at a music festival?

First, the number of expected visitors and the number of actual visitors. A security plan for 10,000 people won’t be suitable if 30,000 people show up. We need to be flexible and adapt our protocols to reality without compromising security.

Second, the site, its layout and the space between participants: if the venue is small, the number of people per unit area increases. So does the risk of conflict between festivalgoers.

Third, expected weather conditions. High heat or rain, for example, can affect the attendees’ behaviour.

These elements may individually or simultaneously affect crowd management and business continuity during the event; tempers can flare here and there.

We maintain proactive communication with clients from our first meeting to better understand their priorities and create a climate of trust.


How does security training for a music festival differ from other types of security training?

Professionals specialized in event security management face situations and behaviour of all kinds. In fact, security training for a music festival focuses on appearance and deterrence. Security guards must:

  • remain calm despite possible verbal abuses or lack of cooperation from attendees;

  • reassure clients or their representatives on site;

  • act cautiously and follow protocol at all times;

  • contact their supervisor in an appropriate manner, if necessary.

With time and experience, they develop behavioral reflexes that make their body language more deterrent.


What methods does GardaWorld’s security personnel use to monitor attendee behaviours?

Event security is based on preventing risks and managing crowds. Methods vary according to the nature and the size of each event, as well as the type of crowd. The most common methods are:

  • body searches;

  • inspection of personal belongings;

  • access control;

  • mobile patrol with several security guards.


Do all the event security guards wear a uniform?

It depends on the client’s request. Most of the time, GardaWorld security professionals wear uniforms. Sometimes they wear a black suit, other times they wear civilian clothing to blend into the crowd.


What are the strategic locations for event security guards?

It is crucial to be aware of the logistics:

  • number and location of ticket booths and help desks;

  • paths leading to body and belonging searches, and validation of tickets;

  • details on artists’ performances.

These places are often security hotspots at an event.

Our management structure allows us to station our guards at the appropriate places following our pre-established security plan and the guards’ profile.


How does GardaWorld differentiate itself from its competitors for event security management?

We provide our clients with end-to-end event security solutions, adapted to their specific needs. We are always fully aware of the context of their events and their priorities, so we make sure to deliver comprehensive security services.

After each event, we meet with the client and our team to gather feedback and lessons learned. Our goal is to build mutually beneficial, long-term relationships to keep improving our service offering and client satisfaction.


Are you proud of having secured an event in particular?

Many! If I had to pick one, I would probably say the gala of the Canadian Grand Prix, a prestigious event that gathers hundreds of visitors including several celebrities. During this event, our event security guards managed multiple responsibilities:

  • access control;

  • remote monitoring and management of materials and equipment;

  • parking management for Formula One pilots and their entourage;

  • emergency interventions and crowd management around the red carpet;

  • ushers;

  • supervision of other employees and volunteers.

GardaWorld’s Special Events division provides a turnkey security solution customized to your needs and your budget, all year long, at any given time. Contact us now to learn more about it!