Event security and crowd management specialist Showsec has enjoyed another busy and successful summer, taking care of events including The V Festival, Bloodstock and The BBC One Show Summer Festival.
Showsec introduced a new-look stewarding and security service for The V Festival (which ran on 17-18 August), in turn beginning a long-term contract with festival owner Roseclaim Ltd.
Held at Staffordshire’s Weston Park in tandem with the sister event in Chelmsford, over 85,000 people gathered across the two-day show to see performances by international rock and pop stars, among them Beyoncé and the Kings of Leon.
One of the premier summer events in the UK, the V Festival has a very strong festival brand identity that has been developed along with a team of contractors delivering their vision across 18 years.
Early discussions established how Showsec and Roseclaim Ltd could best work together in 2013 to achieve improvements in customer experience, positively develop the festival and also strengthen its brand values.
Extensive planning and two-way communications led to a fresh, innovative security service that would manage the crowds. This built on the systems and standards Showsec is well-renowned for in the UK – all in line with the client’s vision for the festival.
Festival organiser Andy Redhead explained: “You’ve got to strive to stay ahead of the game and keep things new and fresh. Showsec has performed really well this year despite the challenge of the company being new to the festival and having to adapt to what we’re doing. They’ve coped brilliantly in trying times.”
Redhead continued: “We’re really pleased with how the weekend went. Being on the back foot on the Friday with the weather against us, we battled for a couple of hours and came out on top. It stayed that way. We’re fortunate that we work with such professional agencies planning the festival, and we’re looking forward to starting preparations for 2014.”
Combined festival security experience
Showsec provided upwards of 1,300 security staff to the main Weston Park festival site and camp sites, using combined festival security experience and knowledge to provide a customer-focused service.
The V Festival was Showsec’s ninth major festival this summer, with security professionals and stewards drawn from all ten of the company’s UK offices. The stewards were led by a vastly experienced management and supervisory team of over 150 that was led by Showsec director Mark Logan.
Logan commented: “In building the project we were conscious of having to hit the ground running in Year One. Our major objectives were to integrate management style and team with the dynamics of the site and ensure we built key strategic and operational relationships with the relevant stakeholders.”
He continued: “The major successes of the weekend were manifested in a successful, proactive anti-drug campaign, a re-design of the festival’s egress system and an uplift in the proactive customer services delivery, which has cascaded downwards from the management team. Overall we’re delighted with our team’s delivery and contribution to maintaining V Festival Weston Park’s reputation as a safe and engaging event to attend.”
Creating a safer festival environment was a central pillar of Showsec’s operational strategy. It was particularly pleasing that crime figures were low this year, with a 10% reduction in overall crime. A joint venture with Staffordshire Police and Showsec to target drugs being brought onsite resulted in over 1,000 searches and more than 100 ejections. This tactic allowed the police to focus on dealers throughout the weekend.”
Peter Owen, chief inspector of the Staffordshire Police, said: “We feel its been a successful year and shown more than anything how the multi-agency operation with the promoters and involving a professional security company can actually make a difference.”
Owen went on to state: “The size of The V Festival is the equivalent of a small town, and the relatively small amount of crime experienced is a real achievement. We’re thrilled about the fact we’ve seen a further reduction in crime numbers than previous years. Working proactively alongside Showsec has assisted in realising the most successful V Festival to date. This is the result of planning alongside Showsec and the event management structure that was in place from last September.”
Mark Logan added: “Being the new security company, a key challenge for us was to engage with the V Festival audience and gain their trust. The whole operation was designed to be a balance of keeping people safe, without the customers feeling there was an overbearing security presence preventing them enjoying the event. The friendly nature of Showsec’s staff continued through to the campsites, building on prior successful campsite operations at other festivals like Download and Bestival so that customers saw security that they could trust to look after them around the clock while they were at V Festival.”
Specialist security and crowd management at Bloodstock 2013
Showsec was recently praised for its specialist security and crowd management skills exhibited at the three-day Bloodstock Festival, which took place at Catton Hall, Derby.
Sell-out crowds rocked relentlessly to headliners including Thrash Metal pioneers Anthrax and Slayer.
For the fourth year running, Showsec was contracted by festival organiser Paul Gregory and family.
Vicky Gregory said: “As organisers, we’re totally committed to the safety of our audience, the artists and their crew members. Showsec bring a lot of experience in crowd management and security techniques to help us achieve our aims. It’s great to see how the company tailors its operations such that they’re appropriate for Bloodstock’s audience and create the right kind of atmosphere across the site.”
Bloodstock attracts a very dedicated crowd of heavy metal fans, and has achieved impressive growth year-on-year. Having won the ‘Best Medium-Sized Festival’ category at the 2012 UK Festival Awards, interest in this year’s festival was even higher. Indeed, the event was streamed across the Internet for the very first time to over one million people worldwide.
With 12,000 fans attending this year (an increase of 2,000 on 2012), additional campsites were set up to realise a total of five public amenities and seven specialist camping areas.
Darren Evans (head of security) and Rachael Evans (site co-ordinator) managed the Showsec staff deployed across the main stage, the Sophie Lancaster Arena, New Band Stage and public campsites.
“Bloodstock is the UK’s largest dedicated metal festival, and we’ve seen it grow from year to year, attracting a dedicated crowd motivated by a love for the music,” said Evans. “In order to meet the expectations of this unique demographic, we specifically selected 200 Showsec staff from several of the UK offices based on their skills and experience in working within such a unique festival environment. The team worked tirelessly to ensure crowds were kept safe across the festival. I’m pleased with all of the positive comments we received over the weekend.”
Adam Gregory, director of the Bloodstock Festival, added: “We were very happy to welcome Showsec back to Bloodstock. Fans across the site were constantly praising the manner in which the Showsec staff dealt with them.”
Gregory continued: “We received some great feedback on how polite, courteous and friendly the stewards were, how very engaging they were and that they always had time for a helpful chat. This is a refreshing change from other festival experiences I’ve witnessed. Showsec most certainly added a lot of great value to the Bloodstock experience. I wouldn’t dream of looking elsewhere for this service.”
Security at The BBC One Show Summer Festival
From 6-7 August, Showsec provided event security and crowd management services for The BBC One Show Summer Festival, which took place on the beach at Weston-Super-Mare.
A live extension of the prime time TV programme, crowds enjoyed free family activities set up on the beach in the two days leading into the live broadcast of the show in the evening.
The event was open to the public from mid-day until 8.00 pm and comprised of six zoned activity areas with a main stage and big screen all operational throughout the day on the beachfront green, with further attractions and a broadcast stage on the beach.
Showsec was contracted to manage access into the event as well as providing a full crowd management service and ‘build up and breakdown’ security.
In line with a thorough risk assessment report conducted by BBC-appointed event managers, Showsec was selected for its high reputation and excellent track record on safety.
Showsec supplied 30 event security professionals from the Wales and West office that were deployed from 10.00 am across the site to ensure visitors remained safe and informed.
Martin Lewis, project manager at Showsec, said: “This was a free event aimed at a largely family-centred audience during the school summer holidays. We monitored crowd levels from the entrance points from very early on, taking care of the audience with a similar approach to that adopted at Camp Bestival the previous weekend.”
Lewis added: “Running alongside the main activity zones on the beach, additional activities took place in cordoned off areas surrounded by low level crowd barriers. We also managed access to these areas to ensure they didn’t become overcrowded. The safety of children and the young to very old audience was our overriding priority.”