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E3S showcases the human ‘heart’ of event safety

The annual Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S) took place yesterday (8 October) as experts dedicated to keeping venues, events and festivals safe descended on the Congress Centre in London for a packed schedule of panel discussions, keynote interviews, quick-fire presentations and interactive activities.

“Safety and security are the top priority for AEG and for the industry as a whole,” commented AEG’s senior vice president and chief security officer Matt Bettenhausen, as he took to the stage to deliver the opening address to a packed room of delegates.

Information sharing, technological innovations, training programmes, anti-terrorism strategies and crowd management techniques were all discussed at the conference, but it was the people behind the projects that came out as the heroes of the day.

“In the end, our most important resources are our people,” said Bettenhausen, explaining his mantra of enlisting, entrusting, empowering and encouraging, assuring every person in the chain of command has the knowledge, confidence and skills to act. “This is what allows me to do my job,” stressed Bettenhausen.

People also formed the centre of the closing remarks of this year’s E3S, delivered by Sir Paul McCartney’s director of security Mark Hamilton.

“People are at the heart of everything we do as safety and security professionals,” said Hamilton, noting that his experience as a young concertgoer gave him a “unique perspective on how audiences should be managed”, as well as an innate sense that something should be “changed and improved”.

“In the end, our most important resources are our people”

45 years on, the security veteran stated that the industry looked “better informed than ever” and commended the collaborative spirit and distinct lack of complacency of all those attending.

Bettenhausen commented on the success of wider industry, noting that the business is in rude health and referencing the ever-increasing demand from fans to attend events, as seen by the recent example of Glastonbury Festival’s recent rapid sell-out.

For Bettenhausen, this demand to attend events, especially before line-ups are even announced, is based on trust – trust both in the event organisers and in security teams and their capacity to keep fans safe and secure.

Terrorism, sadly, remains a serious threat for the events industry, albeit a low probability one, and was discussed by the AEG chief, as well as by representatives of Sportpaleis Antwerp, who recently conducted a major simulation of a terrorist attack in their Belgium arena.

This kind of activity paves the way for thorough planning, another key aspect of ensuring safety at live events. “An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure,” former Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger likes to tell Bettenhausen, the AEG security chief mentioned casually.

Other E3S 2019 highlights included engaging discussions on the psychology and management of crowds, the safeguarding of vulnerable people and the threat of cyber incidents.

“We must never forget that we are dealing with people here, and all of the human factors arising from excitement, anticipation, fear, expectation and cultural influences”

The haphazard nature of much security training was a topic that cropped up throughout the day. Andrew Tatrai of Australia’s Aces Group presented his research on how to train crowd managers, explaining how technology can be used to “mimic human intuition” and make crowd management more measurable. Tatrai has now developed a crowd managers decision support tool, using technology to visualise crowd dynamics, predict behaviour, quickly identify risks and mitigate potential issues.

Crowd control has been a focus for Festival Republic in recent years, said the company’s health and safety events organiser Noel Painting, speaking on the ‘Dealing with high risk shows’ panel. “The key thing for events at a major London park is dividing the audience up so we have access to them,” Painting explained, referencing “incidents” at a festival this year, saying changes “certainly” needed to be made, with the introduction of more metalwork to ensure more effective crowd management.

The erratic nature of crowds was explored by Hamilton, as he concluded E3S 2019.

“We must never forget that we are dealing with people here,” concluded Hamilton, “and all of the human factors arising from excitement, anticipation, fear, expectation and cultural influences that are ever present and always changing.”

 


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Festivals pledge facial recognition ban

Organisers of music festivals including C3 Presents-promoted Austin City Limits (ACL), Live Nation-owned Bonnaroo, independent UK event Shambhala and Pitchfork Music Festival have stated they will not use facial recognition technology at their events.

Other festivals to commit to the ban include Live Nation’s Bass Canyon, Latitude 38 Entertainment’s Bottlerock, Excision’s Lost Lands, USC Events’ Paradiso, Madison House Presents/Insomniac’s Electric Forests, and a handful of independent events in the US, such as Wanderlust, Sonic Bloom and Lucidity.

A representative from Live Nation, which bought into biometric identification company Blink Identity in 2018, told Digital Music News that facial recognition technology is not currently used at any of its events, with any future use of the tech being on a strictly opt-in basis.

The push for a ban on biometric identification technology, which has been introduced at some events in the past few years for security and ticketing purposes, is being led by digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, who believe the technology is discriminatory and an invasion of privacy.

“We just launched a new scorecard showing where major music festivals stand when it comes to using invasive and racially biased facial recognition technology on fans”

“We just launched a new scorecard showing where major music festivals stand when it comes to using invasive and racially biased facial recognition technology on fans,” explains Fight for Future’s deputy director Evan Greer.

“Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Electric Forest and others have committed to not using biometric surveillance, while Coachella, SXSW, and Riot Fest have refused to make the same promise.”

The campaign has garnered the support of artists including Tom Morello, Speedy Ortiz, Amanda Palmer and Atmosphere, who have all spoken out against the use of the technology at their concerts.

Matt Bettenhausen, senior vice president and chief security officer at AEG, last year commented that he was “not there yet” on the benefits of facial recognition technology as a security feature.

Bettenhausen will share his thoughts on live event security at the Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S) at London’s Congress Centre on 8 October, where the role that facial recognition plays in event security will be discussed in more detail. To register for the event, click here.

 


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AEG security chief to give E3S 2019 welcome address

The Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S), ILMC’s one-day meeting dedicated to safety and security in the live music and events industries, has announced AEG’s senior vice-president and chief security officer as the welcome address for E3S 2019.

Matt Bettenhausen will open proceedings, sharing some thoughts and setting the tone for the third edition of the conference, which returns to London’s Congress Centre on 8 October 2019. Last year’s welcome address was given by Lucy D’Orsi, deputy assistant commissioner for London’s Metropolitan police, while the Rt Hon. Ben Wallace MP, UK secretary of state for defence, gave the inaugural address in 2017.

At AEG, Bettenhausen has overall responsibility for security, safety and preparedness for the company’s domestic and global operations and facilities. Prior to joining the live entertainment/sports giant, he was a member of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cabinet for nearly six years and also served as chairman of the California Emergency Council.

Additionally, Bettenhausen has held many roles in national US and state security organisations, such as the National Homeland Security Consortium, National Governors Association’s Homeland Security Advisors Council and National Emergency Managers Association.

Matt Bettenhausen has responsibility for security, safety and preparedness for AEG’s domestic and global operations and facilities

After a successful sophomore outing in 2018, the third E3S returns to London’s Congress Centre this autumn. The event is organised by the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in close collaboration with the the European Arena Association, the UK’s National Arena Association and other leading theatre and venue organisations and security companies, and welcomes delegates from companies including AEG, the BBC, Feld Entertainment, Festival Republic, FKP Scorpio, NEC Group, Roskilde Festival, Showsec, SMG, Wembley Stadium and WWE.

The first sessions for E3s 2019 were announced earlier this summer.

Discounted summer rate passes are still available for the conference, priced at £150 + VAT (ends 6 September). To register click here, or for more information about E3S, visit e3s.world.

 


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