Joining forces with a huge volunteer safety force to keep Northern Europe’s biggest rock festival safe

Every summer, more than 135,000 people meet up at the Roskilde Festival, just west of Copenhagen, to hear an eclectic mix of the world’s top rock acts, world music and Scandinavian indie bands. The festival is a massive logistics undertaking. Run as a non-profit, it is only possible due to the 32,000 volunteers who transform 80 hectares of empty fields into what becomes Denmark’s fourth-largest city for a period of eight days.

Safety is an important consideration for any large public event. But at Northern Europe’s biggest music festival, with enormous campgrounds and massive stage areas filled with partying youths, it becomes more critical than ever.

The challenge

Coordinating with a very large volunteer safety force to keep festival-goers safe and happy.

With decades of crowd management experience, the non-profit organization that runs the Roskilde Festival musters an impressive safety force of its own. Every year, its managers train and organize 8000 volunteers to make up the bulk of the safety staff that keep an eye on an eight day party that is one of Europe’s biggest annual music festivals. But according to Danish regulations, the safety staff must be supplemented by security guards who are specially trained and authorized to handle crowd control: those situations where surveillance and a gentle nudge are not enough, and over-zealous festival-goers must be brought to the police or escorted off the fairgrounds.

Seasoned, full-time security personnel must therefore adapt to the situation and work with safety colleagues of varying experience and expertise, around the clock for eight days.

The solution

Close collaboration between the festival’s volunteer staff and AS Solution’s authorized staff and technology.

Once again in 2015, Roskilde Festival teamed up with AS Solution to handle security.

We supplied 40 trained and authorized staff to handle the many shifts. In order to ensure smooth cooperation between our staff and the festival’s volunteers, we worked closely with their managers to design and implement communication protocols and standard operating procedures for interfaces between their team and ours. This included emergency response, contingency plans and other procedures – all designed to provide seamless security and crowd control without compromising the guest experience.

We also provided the festival with video equipment including remote cameras, an operational control center, staff training and support. This enabled the festival’s safety and stage managers to maintain constant, real-time overview of crowd movements in general and of noteworthy incidents in particular. In conjunction with the thousands of staff on the ground alongside our own team, these unobtrusive surveillance methods allowed the safety team to predict and prevent potentially risky crowd movements. It also facilitated heightened safety efforts where needed, so the available resources could be used as efficiently as possible to deliver maximum risk mitigation and timely incident response.

The result

Friction-free cooperation and excellent safety.

Like so many of its predecessors, the 2015 Roskilde Festival will be remembered for its fantastic music and atmosphere. While first-aid crews were as busy as ever with cuts and bruises and all of the other results of non-stop partying, our joint security efforts went off without a hitch.

The video set-up was our most extensive ever and included X cameras and Y monitors. Cooperation between the volunteer staff and our agents was smooth. Yes, we had to help out with a number of guests who forgot their manners, tickets and other essentials that allow so many people to live so closely together, but there were no major security incidents.