Showsec rounded off another hectic summer programme of providing first class security solutions at outdoor festivals with a traditional finale on the Isle of Wight, home of the popular Bestival event.
Once again, the crowd management and event security specialist played a key role in the continuing success story of Bestival, which can now claim to have featured the world’s largest disco ball as one of many highlights realised during this year’s event.
The latest edition of Bestival saw Leicester-based Showsec increase its service delivery on site. In addition to a strong and experienced management team heading up a workforce of 850 staff, Showsec also assumed responsibility for overseeing an army of 1,500 Oxfam volunteers who provided equally vital stewarding services.
The rapid growth of Bestival over the years presents a huge challenge in itself, mainly owing to the fact that the arena and numerous camp sites now cover vast areas of the picturesque Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight.
“To cover such a large area requires meticulous planning and attention to detail in executing the whole security operation,” explained Steve Reynolds, Showsec’s regional manager (South) who served as the festival’s security manager. “In many respects, though, we’ve grown up with Bestival. Our eleven-year association with the main event and its sister, Camp Bestival, plus our familiarity with the venue absolutely helps. Indeed, many of our members of staff look forward to working at the event. In turn, the organiser sees the benefit of having so many friendly security faces on site, particularly when they’re looking for a high level of customer service from us.”
Reynolds added: “This year, it was apparent there was a much younger audience in attendance so it was a new experience for many. On that basis, it was important for our staff members to be aware of this when it came to helping to create a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone.”
Working in tandem with the local police service
As was the case for so many other festivals this summer, Showsec placed great emphasis on its work with the local police service when focusing on crime reduction measures.
“We enjoy a good working relationship with Hampshire Police which undoubtedly had a positive impact upon the level of crime,” commented Reynolds. “We took on the role of drugs searching from the police, just as we have done at other festivals.”
Bestival’s organiser Loudsound Productions asserts that Showsec’s strong management team affords the company peace of mind when delivering such a momentous event.
As head of security for the festival, Showsec director Mark Logan oversaw the whole operation at Robin Hill Country Park. One of his responsibilities was the co-ordination of the Oxfam operation. Logan was supported by Richard Church, Showsec’s regional manager for the Midlands.
“Showsec’s presence offers reassurances that we can deliver a safe and secure event where everyone can enjoy themselves,” said Dave Grindle, festival manager at Loudsound Productions. “We have a long-standing working relationship with Showsec. It’s very important to us to have the support of such a strong team of managers and supervisors. It’s also good to see the same faces back each year. That continuity certainly helps us as we strive to offer an even better festival experience for our customers. Pleasingly, that’s something we feel we’ve accomplished once again this time around.”
Bestival 2014 ended in spectacular fashion as the record-breaking, 10.3-metre wide disco ball was hoisted by crane above Magic Meadow before disco kings Chic (featuring celebrated songwriter and guitarist Nile Rodgers) closed four days of the very best musical entertainment with a brilliant set featuring all of their 70s and 80s classics.