Tag Archives: Bruce Springsteen

Showsec helps put Leeds’ First Direct Arena on the venue map

Event and venue security specialist Showsec has been acclaimed for its part in helping to establish the First Direct Arena in Leeds as a friendly, customer-focused venue.

The 13,000-capacity First Direct Arena recently celebrated its first birthday when Jake Bugg performed his unique blend of indie rock and folk to a capacity crowd. It was a special occasion which also marked a celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the venue’s sponsor, the Leeds-based bank First Direct.

From the outset, Showsec was contracted by SMG Europe to provide its specialist services for the First Direct Arena and has undoubtedly made an important contribution to many memorable events (among them the hosting of the BBC’s annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards ceremony).

First Direct Arena general manager Ben Williams commented: “During the launch year of the First Direct Arena, SMG has relied upon the scale, expertise and professionalism delivered by Showsec. As a company, Showsec has not only embraced but also pro-actively committed to the venue’s vision for putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. The First Direct Arena has quickly established a reputation for being a friendly, customer-focused environment for event-goers and Showsec has contributed significantly towards that achievement.”

The First Direct Arena in Leeds

The First Direct Arena in Leeds

Williams added: “We look forward to working closely with Showsec and continuing to improve our service provision for customers and artists over the coming years.”

International artists in the spotlight

As well as the anniversary event featuring Jake Bugg, the First Direct Arena has played host to many other international artists including Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Kasabian, Michael Buble, Miley Cyrus, Ed Sheeran and The Kaiser Chiefs.

For its part, Showsec has worked closely with SMG Europe and the Arena’s management team to provide a customer-focused service. With Sam Hodkin now operating as the Arena’s head of security, Showsec has developed a strong team of experienced supervisors, Security Industry Authority-licensed professionals and stewards to help the venue enhance its reputation for top class entertainment.

“The emphasis has been on ensuring that the experience for all visitors to the First Direct Arena is the very best it can be,” explained Julian Kumah, Showsec’s area manager for Yorkshire. “The fact that we’ve been able to deliver that level of service is due to the tremendous commitment and professionalism of our staff. We have received some very positive feedback from customers and clients which spurs us on to raise the bar even higher.”

Kumah added: “The development of our service at the First Direct Arena has involved us in being innovative in order to create the best possible operational systems in line with the design of the venue and to use the latest technology. This affords our staff the confidence and ability to fulfil their roles. The upshot of that is a customer-focused approach.”

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Showsec secures first series of concerts in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Showsec recently provided concert and site security to promoters Live Nation for Hard Rock Calling, Mumford and Sons, the Wireless Festival and the Electric Daisy Carnival.

These events ran on four consecutive weekends. They were the first to be hosted in the Olympic Park since London 2012, thus representing a significant landmark in the legacy of the area.

Having previously managed security and crowd management for Hard Rock Calling, the Wireless Festival and other concerts on behalf of Live Nation, Showsec director Steve Reynolds was appointed head of security for this latest series of events.

Now in its seventh year, up to 60,000 people attended Hard Rock Calling 2013, which saw performances from headliners Kasabian and Bruce Springsteen.

Mumford and Sons, followed by Wireless featuring Jay Z and Justin Timberlake sold a further 60,000 tickets per day, with the imported American electronic dance brand Electric Daisy Carnival attracting around 50,000 dance music fans to bring the series to a close.

Showsec's Steve Reynolds at Hard Rock Calling 2013

Showsec’s Steve Reynolds at Hard Rock Calling 2013

Showsec secured the site throughout the tenure from the initial build to breakdown. Show day operations were tailored to suit the different multiple stage set-ups being offered around the site by each of the distinctly different events.

Specialist skills applied at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Overseen by operations co-ordinator Michael Asimnye, an impressive array of specialist event security skills were applied by between 400 and 600 Showsec staff deployed throughout the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to ensure the safety and enjoyment of the varied audiences.

Showsec’s head of security Steve Reynolds said: “This year is very much a one-off year on this site, which will evolve into a new configuration for future use when the final phase of building development starts. On that basis there has been a disproportionate level of planning as opposed to an annual event.”

Reynolds stated: “We have engaged in extensive communications with the multiple stakeholders around this venue, including the London Legacy Development Corporation, Newham Borough Council and the Metropolitan Police Service. Our priority was planning the optimum layout and associated crowd management operations for audience safety and enjoyment with one eye on the diverse range of audience profiles across the different events.”

Sporting events at the Olympic Stadium

On the anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Showsec was selected as the stewarding company to be entrusted with the prestigious sporting events taking place there in July, including the National Lottery Anniversary Run and the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games.

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Showsec was contracted by Live Nation on behalf of UK Athletics (organiser of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games) and Nova International Limited, the event delivery partner for the National Lottery Anniversary Run which took place a week earlier at the stadium.

Stepping into LOCOG’s former role, Live Nation and Showsec were under detailed scrutiny from several key stakeholders as to their capabilities. Showsec’s specialist knowledge and experience helped to deliver a magnificent experience in the stadium, as 180,000 fans attended what was the largest athletics meeting ever to be held in the UK outside of the Games.

Given the high interest in the event, chief steward Steve Reynolds headed an 80-strong management and supervisory team that oversaw the 600 Showsec staff brought in to assist capacity crowds.
John Probyn, CCO at Live Nation, commented: “I’m very proud of the Live Nation and Showsec teams for helping UK Athletics deliver this spectacular event in what is a great stadium.”

Having received excellent feedback on the levels of interaction between staff and customers, Showsec was praised for its levels of training and knowledge which meant the company entered the project fully prepared.

Crowds were successfully managed and security overseen with the utmost professionalism

Crowds were successfully managed and security overseen with the utmost professionalism

e-learning education and training platform

An online familiarisation module was put out via Showsec’s e-learning education and training platform. Specific modules were tailored to meet the exact needs of Live Nation. All training had to be completed before the stewards went to work.

Showsec management and supervisors attended a dedicated training evening prior to the events in order to familiarise themselves with ingress and egress, circulation routes, contingency plan testing and communications structures, along with understanding the expected customer service levels.

Showsec stewards inside the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Showsec stewards inside the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Reynolds added: “There was a five-month planning process to ensure the appropriate levels of staff could operate successfully in the stadium. This included writing new operational policies as the LOCOG procedures implemented last year had changed significantly and were not practical for this event.”

He concluded: “I’m very pleased at how supervisors and staff took in the bespoke online training module specific to the event. This equipped them to be knowledgeable and confident.”

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