Home Solutions Site, Venue and Facilities
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Site, Venue and Facilities
Every event is held somewhere. It could be in a purpose-built facility or a heritage site, on the streets or waterways, or at a unique one-off site. Large public events can be held outside in public parks, in the streets or shopping malls, or in the middle of the desert. Some events are held annually in the same venue, while others seek new and unusual sites for subsequent events.
Many event venues provide enormous flexibility and can be readily transformed to meet the
requirements of the event. The range is extremely wide – from hotel banquet rooms to
theatres to sporting venues. To match an event to a particular site or venue the following must be assessed:
Choice of location for an event
When considering the choice of venue, the event organiser needs to look at a number of key factors, including:
• potential to fulfil the purpose of the event
• access by public transport
• seating capacity
• built features (such as stages)
• cost of decoration, sound and lighting
• cost of hire
• logistics of setting up
• food & beverage, toilet and waste facilities
The event manager should compile a list that takes all the likely issues into account. Although the following list is not comprehensive, and not applicable to specific events, it does give an idea of what should be considered when choosing a location for an event.
An essential criterion in selecting a destination for events is safety. Site evaluation should include safety and security. Different events have different safety concerns, consider the hazards at a rock festival to those possible at a flower show. All potential hazardous situations concerned with the type of event should be evaluated in relation to the intended site or venue.
Selection of event venues and sites
To undertake the venue/site selection process for an event requires the application of significant analytical and research skills to complete the process of matching an event to a particular site or venue. The following issues must be assessed:
• different styles of venues and sites, services offered and their suitability for particular event types
• venue and site options within a given locality
• presentation styles for venue and site information and interpretation of this information
• information sources for venue and site information
• the features and requirements of typical venue or site contracts
• typical operational structures within a venue including relevant personnel, internal networks and inter-relationships and reporting structures
There are many factors that need to be taken into account in selecting an event venue, but the overall strategy should be to aim for the best possible fit with the client’s and the audience’s needs at the lowest possible cost. If all stages, props, carpets, seating, portable kitchens and refrigerators, and so on, have to be hired, the cost may be prohibitive, even if the venue seems perfect in other ways.
It may be that there is no choice; the venue is already decided upon, and the event manager has to adapt the location in the best ways possible to meet the objectives of the event.
The process for selecting the event venue or site is in three distinct parts.
1. Specify venue or site requirements
Following the choice of venue, a site inspection is vital. Detailed information of all aspects of the site should be collected in order to record important data and to enable planning consideration to take place at a later date and with the clients, contractors and suppliers. Obtain venue building floor plans or a site map, and lists of facilities and equipment included in the hire. It is useful for the event manager to walk through the premises in order to evaluate distances, sight lines and any unforeseen issues
When determining where the event is to be held, one of the primary considerations should be how the potential venue is designed and whether certain characteristics are likely to add to or detract from the occurrence of violence and crime. For example, if opposing fans are placed in adjacent seats during a highly competitive match, trouble will most likely occur.
To establish whether the proposed venue provides the required space, access and facilities, it will be necessary to check whether:
Before deciding on a particular venue:
Assessing the crowd
Assessing the type of crowd will provide information to help design the venue. Every crowd is different, but certain characteristics can be forecast by exchanging information with other operators who have run similar events or by referring to past experiences.
Assessing the capacity of a venue
At some venues the capacity may already be set. If this is not the case and the capacity is being established, think about:
The entrance and exit
The entrances should not allow admissions to exceed the rate of crowd dispersal inside the venue. Try to estimate the entry rates and take measures to prevent an excessive build-up of people outside the venue. Means of illegal entry to the venue should be blocked.
The exits should allow people to leave a venue easily and quickly if necessary. Make sure that they can pass through the system at the same speed throughout its length. Think about the potential obstructions and routes that have limited space.
Emergency exit routes can also be used. Check that all emergency doors open outwards into a large open area at the same level (sliding or roller shutter type doors should be avoided). Twisting and complex exit systems should also be avoided.
Stairways, gangways and ramps
Stairways, gangways and ramps should be designed to ensure a steady flow along their length.
Remember that movement down an incline poses risks to people at all times. Stumbling, pushing and congestion may cause sudden, uncontrolled surges downwards. Consider gradients, escalators, approaches to stairways, segregation of conflicting flows of people, widths, accessibility of hand rails, lighting and the length of flights of stairs.
Consider having enough space between rows of seats to enable people to move freely without disturbing others. This should also help reduce the evacuation time in an emergency situation, provided an adequate gangway is available.
The type of seating required is dependent, to a large extent, on the type of event being organised. As a guide it is recommended that:
People generally treat temporary structures in the same way as permanent structures and the same degree of comfort and performance is expected. Therefore temporary structures should be designed on the same principles applied to permanent structures.
The risk of fires starting can be minimised by examining the fire regulations applicable to the venue. Most new venues will conform to current safety requirements. However, the building structure and fabric in older venues may need to be upgraded to meet requirements.
If the event is to be staged near water, especially when alcohol is to be available at the venue, adequate patrols should be arranged to prevent accidental drowning.
There may also be a fire risk at the venue, particularly in campground settings in country and bushland districts. Provision must be made to ensure fires are restricted or banned altogether during periods of high fire risk.
Facilities provided in campgrounds should be adequate for the number of people present. They should be adequately lit at night and kept clean. Access to the facilities should be maintained and the pathways kept clear. In addition to the provision of showers and toilets, adequate signage, litter bins and litter clearance must be arranged.
A street activity or parade has particular problems for crowd control:
The feasibility of holding any street event should be discussed at an early stage with the police, emergency services, residents` representatives, local authorities and any other interested parties. If the event is to go ahead, plans will need to include arrangements for effective monitoring of overcrowding at the venue and at associated areas such as approach roads and bus/train stations, and crowd behaviour, as well as ad hoc occurrences such as accidents and injuries.
It may also be necessary to consider closing the bus/train station for the venue. Where access to certain streets is controlled, residents could be encouraged to carry some form of identification to allow them into the area.
Where the event is a moving one, such as a parade, procession, or a fun run, choose a route which will minimise possible trouble, and not place additional demands on police and security resources.
At all events there should be, at least, readily accessible drinking water available at no cost, even if no other drinks are on-site. At events lasting longer than a few hours there should be some provision of food.
Where possible, drinks sold at the venue should be in plastic containers or in plastic or paper cups, rather than in cans or bottles.
Litter, especially broken glass, can cause major problems at events. Not only is it unhygienic to leave litter lying around but serious injuries can occur from broken glass and it may even be used as a weapon or missile. In order to minimise these problems it is important that:
If the event incorporates stalls run by independent operators they must comply with the appropriate health and safety regulations. Power cables and leads should be safely installed, and away from hazards of pedestrian movement or water sources.
If there is to be a fireworks display, check on the following:
The operator will need to obtain the necessary permit from the appropriate regulatory authority, police and fire brigade. Permits generally stipulate that the fire brigade must be informed that a fireworks display is being held, and ideally a firefighter should be in attendance whenever fireworks are being let off. The fire brigade must receive a list of fireworks beforehand so that they know what precautions are required.
Fireworks have to be set up at the ground itself as it is illegal to transport fireworks in a trailer when they are fused.
Once the fireworks are at the venue:
Flares can be an issue at some types of events. You could:
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