A video that was captured of Lady Gaga performing live in Toronto in late July went on to become extremely popular online. In the scene, the pop sensation was performing on stage when an enormous item appeared out of nowhere and ricocheted off her forehead. In spite of what appeared to be a minor breach of safety, Lady Gaga continued performing as if nothing had happened.
“Unfortunately, this is not a new development. Performers have been subjected to having things hurled at them for a long time, and some performers have even welcomed it, according to Kurt Miner, the managing director of the entertainment sector of Allianz Risk Consulting Group (pictured), who was quoted in the previous sentence.
After a lull caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, concerns regarding the potential for the return of large crowds and the attendant threats to public health and safety are once again front and center. There has been a recent uptick in the number of live concerts and music festivals, and insurers have responded by stepping up their efforts to protect concertgoers as well as musicians performing at these events.
“In most cases, we implement safety precautions leading up to and away from the stage. However, up until very recently, we were unaware that we had a concern when performers are performing,” Miner, a seasoned insurer of entertainment and live events, stated to Insurance Business.
After they have successfully carried someone to the stage in a secure manner, security personnel will occasionally take a break or do something else. Now that we have more information, we realize that [the stage] can also be a risky environment.
At high-energy events like these, objects being hurled to and from the stage are one of the most prevalent mishaps that can occur. The rapper Kid Cudi left the stage at the Rolling Loud music festival in Florida just a few weeks before the incident that occurred with Lady Gaga. The crowd had been throwing trash and water bottles at him.
“In addition, some of the performers will toss objects into the audience. As an illustration, you can witness drummers tossing drumsticks into the crowd,” Miner noted. The act of throwing things is typically excluded from coverage under an insurance for a live event; nevertheless, event organizers may occasionally be able to approach their insurers with well-thought-out arrangements.
During the course of one of their shows, Metallica was seen tossing around thousands of small rubber beach balls. Because we screened the procedure, we were able to grant permission for that. We went over the steps, discussed how they were going to release them, and other related topics. “The restriction was revoked with regard to that location,” explained Miner.
Water bottles and beach balls being thrown at people are still considered to be perfectly benign acts of violence; however, more serious safety problems have emerged over the recent summer festival season.
The concert that pop sensation Dua Lipa was performing at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on July 27 was titled “Future Nostalgia,” and it finished with a real bang after a fan detonated pyrotechnics that they had sneaked into the stadium. During the unlawful light show, crowds dispersed in a panic, and the Toronto police stated that at least three persons received minor injuries.
“Because of recent happenings, we have decided to increase our level of protection. However, the security measures taken for performances are not always consistent,” Miner explained. He made the observation that not all performers have their own personal security detail, which adds another layer of difficulty to the task of risk management at an event.
Innovations in concert safety measures
Thankfully, technology is assisting both event organizers and insurers in managing the risks associated with security. The proliferation of real-time video surveillance makes it possible for participants to call off a performance for reasons related to safety without leaving the convenience of their homes. According to Miner, event organizers are able to provide insurers with access to the feed from a network of security cameras that are installed all around a venue.
“I am able to keep an eye on two or three different events without leaving my workstation.” I am even able to do risk management because I am able to see things like if exits are blocked, and I am able to call [organizers] up and say things like: “Hey, just to let you know that the barrier over by Stage 2 has been taken down.” [Video monitoring] has also been helpful because it reduces the costs that insurers have to pay out of pocket. It is not necessary for any of us to travel or send representatives to the event,” he went on to say.
Social media platforms offer an additional remote monitoring option for insurance companies to consider. Miner gave an example of one of the common ways that they use Facebook, Twitter, or other media to prevent gate-rushing and stampedes at venues:
“When we put in particular trigger words, we may see thousands of images from people submitting pictures at the event,” the spokesperson said. We are able to type in words such as “rush” or “gate” or anything similar and discover that we are able to receive hits on individuals who say things such as “Hey everyone, we’re going to rush it!” We are able to respond with a security team before they do because we were able to monitor it from the command center when they posted it on social media.
According to Miner, crowd management can be difficult because many venues rely on volunteers to move concertgoers in and out of the building. He advises that event organizers regularly assess their safety protocols and devise a strategy to mitigate the most common types of threats to attendees’ wellbeing. The National Incident Management System (NIMS), also known as the Incident Command System, is a standardized method to the command, control, and coordination of emergency response efforts. It is also a very useful tool for event organizers.
Other essential aspects of concert safety include the provision of well-delineated exits, accurate weather predictions, adequate staging, and locked storage for flammable or explosive chemicals, such as propane or pyrotechnic materials.
Because trips and falls are the leading cause of insurance claims for live events, it is essential for venues to have sufficient medical personnel and transportation to nearby medical facilities.
“Communication winds up being one of the most important factors that are vital. “The amount of communication that you have with your people on the ground, as well as with the local authorities, whether it be private security or medical staff, is very critical,” added Miner. It is difficult to prepare for some of the disasters that we have witnessed. But you may plan your response.”