The ‘Best-Ever’ Bestival ensured that another busy summer programme of securing and managing crowds at major festivals ended on a high note for Showsec as the company played its part in the success of the ‘Summer of Love’.
Organisers were quick to acclaim the fact that Bestival scaled new heights this year following a spectacular event which once again featured a successful bid to break a world record.
Crowd management and event security specialist Showsec helped to enhance the reputation of what has now become the traditional grand finale to the festival season on the Isle of Wight as the impact of the company’s bespoke crime reduction measures contributed to the overall success of the occasion.
This year’s event, which was themed the ‘Summer of Love’, saw Duran Duran, The Chemical Brothers and Missy Elliott headline the Main Stage on each of the festival’s three show days.
In a continuation of a long association with the Bestival team, Showsec’s summer programme drew to a close in the picturesque surroundings of Robin Hill Country Park, but it’s a link which also includes sister event Camp Bestival and a new addition this year, namely Common People.
Continually looking to raise the bar
“We’re continually exploring ways to raise the bar higher by delivering very special festival experiences for the enjoyment of all concerned,” commented Dave Grindle, the festival manager from Loudsound Productions. “To have the confidence to be that bold and ambitious with your plans, you need to have strong backing from the teams who provide essential parts of the whole operation. In that sense, we’ve developed a long-standing working relationship with Showsec and it’s very important to us to have the support of such a strong team of managers and supervisors.”
Grindle added: “That was most evident again this year and certainly helped us to fulfil our aim of making this Bestival the very best one we’ve run in its twelve-year history.”
A prominent feature of Showsec’s operation was the strong presence of senior management heading up the team throughout the event. While director Mark Logan acted as head of security, three of the company’s regional managers – namely Steve Reynolds, Scott Anderson and Richard Church – took on key responsibilities. Further support was provided by five area managers working across the whole operation.
As well as directing its own operations, Showsec also played an important part in the co-ordination of an army of Oxfam volunteers providing stewarding support.
“The benchmark is set very high by Bestival in terms of customer experience, so it’s important we match that commitment with our level of service,” commented Steve Reynolds, who was the security operations manager within that team for this particular occasion. “It helps that we have grown up with the event due to our long association with both Bestival and Loudsound Productions. We’re familiar with the venue.”
Reynolds went on to state: “Our management team was as strong as it has ever been, with Scott Anderson being an important addition in his capacity as security co-ordinator. This level of managerial expertise and experience proves to be highly significant in terms of our effective liaison with the other agencies fulfilling key roles.”
Working in parallel with Hampshire Constabulary
Nowhere was that more effective, in fact, than when it came to working closely with officers from the Hampshire Constabulary on crime reduction measures designed to help make Bestival 2015 a safe and secure environment.
Hampshire Constabulary reported a 26% drop in the number of reported criminal incidents for this year’s event, while enhanced searches involving Showsec staff, detection dogs and police advisors ensured that substantial quantities of drugs were confiscated at the entrances.
“The reduction in crime is a satisfying reflection of the emphasis which we place on this element of our operation and, indeed, the standardised training many staff have completed to enhance their skills and knowledge in that respect,” added Reynolds. “Having so many individuals within our operation who are very familiar with this event, and indeed enjoy being a part of what is the final stage of a long festival season, ensured that many aspects of our operation ran in a similarly effective way to previous years. There were some differences, most notably the fact that we had a higher number of early arrivals this year into the camp sites ahead of the event.”
Reynolds went on to state: “We also had a camera crew on site for much of the time and this took some planning to ensure they were able to film without too much disruption.”
Among the many other attractions, the world’s largest disco ball was back after successfully achieving an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2014, while the unofficial record bid on this occasion saw 446 people become the largest number of buskers to sing a song in one place.