Archive for category Crowd Control News
Wake Forest University recently had some big names in town for their annual concert, cleverly called “WakeStock.” The university brought in hip-hop stars, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Kendrick Lamar to perform at the concert, but the highly anticipated event fell short due to crowd control issues.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who recently hit unfathomable stardom with their song, “Thrift Shop,” were the headliners for the show, and their set was forced to end early due to a faulty crowd control barrier.
The school hired an entertainment company that used some sort of outdoor barrier to create a separation between the audience and the stage. This method was working until a broken pin closed the gap between the stage and the audience.
The school’s security, worried about injuries, attempted to hold the barricade together, but it wasn’t enough. The gap kept getting smaller, and school officials paused Macklemore’s set, asking the crowd to move back. Police were successful in pushing the crowd back, and Macklemore began to play again, but not for long.
Crowd problems continued, and again, officials were forced to stop the set, this time for good. After the show, Macklemore tweeted the following about the concert: “It was never in our control nor did we ever stop performing. That barricade was for 2,000 people and there were over 4,000 there.”
The technical director for the entertainment company rejected the claims made by the rap star, saying, “The barricade we brought to Wake Forest is crowd friendly and tough.” He said they used the very same barricade at much larger events, including a concert on New Years Eve that had a crowd of over 13,000 people.
The school made the right call, as many students said the situation was frightening. “I was near the front,” one junior student who attended the concert said, “and it was a domino effect. People kept falling. I fell on the ground and thought I was going to get trampled.”
It’s unconfirmed as to what kind of barricade the entertainment company was using. Generally, these barricades are not very tall – usually around 4-feet. Some might wonder how a barricade that size could keep separation; why the crowd wouldn’t just hop over. The answer is simple. The barricades help form an orderly atmosphere. They help security personell monitor the crowd. If one person jumps, security can address the problem. If the whole thing comes down, control is lost.
When used properly, bike rack barricades are a sufficient means for controlling outdoor crowds. The barricades are made from 16 gauge steel with an interlocking system that allows for easy connection and system extension. No matter the size of the area, you can connect the 8-foot barricades to create a sufficient barrier.
As soon as they break or falter, however, control is lost. Thus, there are two main points to be pulled from this near-disaster at Wake Forest University:
1.) The equipment is imperative to overall security. Communicate law and order to attendees by creating a safe, controlled atmosphere, and that’s what you’ll get.
2.) Check your equipment. Purchase quality equipment to start, and be sure to give a thorough test to each piece before every event.
Back in December we covered a story about an unruly crowd of sneaker shoppers in Alabama. As is common with these highly coveted kicks, Nike only releases a small number in an effort to create hype.
In Alabama, 100 sneaker heads stood waiting outside a small retailer to grab one of 36 wrist bands that would guarantee a pair of retro Jordans at a later date. When things got out of control, police were forced to use pepper spray on the crowd. This, of course, led to bad press for Nike and the Jordan brand, the retailer in Alabama, and the police. Not to mention, those who were caught in the middle and ended up in the hospital with various injuries.
This most recent incident occurred outside of a store called “Mad Rags” in Springfield, Mass. last week. An 11-year-old girl was waiting in line for the shoes, when she was caught in the middle of an argument between two other waiters. When gunfire sounded, the girl was hit in the leg. Police in Springfield sent out a massive unit in search of the shooter.
All this over sneakers. It seems crazy, right? There’s one pestering question that we asked back in December, and unfortunately, we’re forced to ask it again – was this incident preventable? What can police, retailers, and the Nike Air Jordan brand do to eliminate this sort of violence while still selling these sneakers?
Here’s what we think: Nike has already changed their release practices, pushing back the door time to 8 a.m. to eliminate campouts, and give law enforcement the benefit of daylight. They’ve also barred retailers from pre-selling sneakers, or posting pictures before release dates. These are all solid moves, but they’re obviously not enough. What else?
Crowd control equipment. It won’t stop gunfire, but it can create an atmosphere of law and order. A few bike rack barricades in front of the store paired with standing law enforcement will dramatically decrease the likelihood of violence. Inside the store, retractable belt barriers with standing law enforcement.
If you create an atmosphere that communicates order, you’re likely to have order. But, unfortunately, retailers and law enforcement can only do so much. Nike has surrounded the Air Jordan brand with hype and limited availability. Limited availability creates hype, which drives demand. And demand drives profits. It’s smart marketing, but it’s also what drives the problem.
Nike has tried to tone things down, but they may need to do more. No pair of sneakers is worth someone’s life, and we’re hoping we don’t have to cover a story like this again.
The above photo began circulating the internet last week. No one’s really sure who took the photo, or where these people are, but apparently it was taken somewhere in Thailand.
It appears as though the people are using their shoes and sandals to hold their spots in line, while they wait (sitting) on closeby benches.
It’s really quite genius if you think about it. They can sit instead of stand, they’re in view of their shoes, so they can be sure no one cuts, and it’s actually an efficient, fair way of queueing.
The cleanliness (or lack thereof) is the only flaw to this method. One might be weary of resting their bare feet on a public floor, but you could always carry a pair of slippers, or some other footwear to mark your spot.
Either way, kudos to the people in that building. You might want to think about trying this on your next trip to the DMV…just a thought!
Mosh pits, science, and crowd control – one of these things is not like the others, or so you may think. The Atlantic Cities recently published an article titled, “What Mosh Pits Can Teach Us About Crowd Control in Public Spaces.” The story details one physicist’s theory on how the three of these things, in fact, are very related.
Jesse Silverberg, a full-time physicist and part-time mosher took his girlfriend to a metal show, and instead of rocking in the pit like he usually does, he stayed outside of the craziness, in order to keep an eye on his girl.
Approaching the mosh as a spectator, Silverberg started noticing patterns in what he had always thought was complete chaos. He realized, while the moshers as independent subjects seem to move with no apparent order, the group as a whole follows a few simple patterns.
So Jesse and his team created an interactive model “simplify[ing] the complex behavioral dynamics of each human mosher to that of a simple soft-bodied particle.”
In the model (screenshot seen above), the red circles are active “MASHers,” or Mobile Active Simulated Humanoids. Silverberg identifies the MASHers as “self-propelled, experience flocking interactions, subject to random fluctuations in the forces upon them. The black circles are just there enjoying the music.”
The moshers bounce around like the molecules in a gas, and Silverberg says they can be studied in the same way. Using videos of metal concerts has allowed him to study crowd behavior in ways other experiments have not.
Further, he states that the combination of flashing lights, loud music, and various intoxicating substances, makes moshpits comparable to other instances of collective motion, like riots or emergency situations, where chaos often follows.
Silverberg believes his study could be used to improve safety in stadiums, arenas, and other large facilities where people gather. The article from the Atlantic Cities cited one study, stating that 37% of injuries that took place over the course of a four-day music festival were “related to moshing activity.”
Pretty interesting stuff. I’d say Silverberg is onto something here.
Note: A lot of the information for this article came from the story published on TheAtlanticCities.com, titled “What Mosh Pits Can Teach Us About Crowd Control in Public Spaces” by Lindsay Abrams.
In this age of full disclosure, fueled by social media and online forums, consumers are able to express their opinions and know that they’ll be heard. If the service is top-notch and reviews are nothing but positive, this can certainly be a good thing for business owners and managers. The opposite, of course, is true as well.
I was recently on a website called tripadvisor.com, perusing for details on a trip I’m planning for myself, when I found a thread titled “Horrible Crowd Control,” citing two complaints about crowd problems at a nameable theme park.
Of course this peaked my interest, considering the field I’m in, so I opened up the forum and found the following from an obviously disgruntled visitor.
“Took a family of four on January 3rd and Harry Potter was 2.5 hour wait (morning and night), 90 minutes for ET, and 180 minutes for Spiderman – what a waste. With their version of the park hopper costing me over $120 per ticket, I couldn’t stomach paying an extra $89 each for the express pass… so instead I got to stomach a full day with the opportunity to ride only 4 rides… what a value. NEVER AGAIN.”
Let me say that my intention here is not to hang this park out to dry. There were plenty of comments that praised the park as well, and I’m sure the wait depends on the day. But does it have to? Should park officials leave their customer service reviews up to fate, dependent entirely on the amount of people who show up that day? I think not.
Having big crowds is a sign of success; something to embrace, not fear. It’s how the crowds are dealt with, however, that will ultimately determine the success of the park.
It appears that the first problem at this park was the amount of guests allowed in on that particular day. More people means more money, but if your guests have a bad time due to long lines and crowds, not only are they less likely to come back, but they’ll probably spread a bad word, like the man quoted above.
It’s important to control entry to ensure guests aren’t experiencing abnormal wait times. Legoland Malaysia does this on a per need basis. If the park becomes too crowded, they simply close the gates for all visitors attempting entry without pre-purchased tickets.
Another useful tactic is to monitor your lines, and send entertainment to those that are abnormally long. Disney World does this through their crowd control command center. When a wait becomes too long, they’ll send over a parade of entertainers to keep visitors from thinking about the wait.
It’s also imperative that you manage expectations. Tell customers how long they’ll be waiting. Use a sign stand to estimate wait times, and always overestimate. If something goes wrong, and the wait is a little longer than expected, waiters will never know, as you accounted for extraneous difficulties in your original estimation. If everything goes as planned, it will appear that the wait was shorter than expected, and you can’t beat the impression that will give.
Keep it safe, simple, and smart. If you manage expectations, control entry, and keep careful watch over your park, you should be able to avoid bad reviews like the one above.
On February 25-26, the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) will be celebrating Museums Advocacy Day in Washington DC. The AAM is encouraging anyone with a passion for museums to attend the events and show Congress why museums deserve their support.
American museums contribute $21 billion to the American economy each year, and across the country, museums account for 400,000 jobs. Here at LineLogic, we realize the importance of these institutions not only on our daily lives and culture, but on the way we do business in our industry.
We recently joined the AAM, and although we regretfully cannot make it Museums Advocacy Day, we will be attending the AAM Annual Meeting and Museum Expo in Baltimore at the end of May.
Registration for Museums Advocacy day ends this Friday, January 25th, so if you plan to attend, there’s no better time than the present!
The events are open to the public, and more information can be found on their website.
There should be a great turnout for the events in Washington next month, and we’re hoping to see some of you at the Expo in May.
We are now less than a week away from the Presidential Inauguration. The parade and swearing-in ceremony for President Obama’s second term will be held on Monday January 21st at the United States Capitol in Washington DC, and officials are expecting upwards of 250,000 people in attendance.
Crowd control is a huge focus for city officials each and every year, but especially this time around, considering the issues in 2009. Speaking on the events four years ago, NBC quoted ticket holder Mustafa Omar, who said “crowd control was nonexistent.”
It was seating, transportation, and general stoppages among crowd flow that led to these and other complaints about the city’s handling of last year’s Inauguration.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer heads the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, and he is more than aware of the previous issues. In a recent statement, Schumer said, “I can’t promise you it will be perfect, but certainly we hope it will be better than last time.”
The committee is utilizing mobile technology this year with a new app available for those attending the event. Major seating issues in 2009 sparked the creation of the app, which allows attendees to see problem spots and find Metro stations that will get them where they’re going fastest. Temporary cell towers were added to protect against network crashes and ensure all attendees have service when they need it.
Of course there will also be large numbers of police, firemen, emergency crews, military personnel, and secret service on site. Bike rack barricades and other outdoor equipment will be spread throughout the area to mark restricted areas and keep crowds back from parade routes, stages, and so forth.
Hotels, restaurants, and other public establishments in the surrounding areas need to be thinking about how they’ll handle the massive influx of people as well. Extra staff, queueing equipment, and signage will be needed to ensure that all of the city’s guests are safe and properly accounted for.
No matter where your political opinions lie, it’s absolutely crucial that we keep this day safe. The last thing we need right now is another national tragedy. With the right preparation, Monday should be a safe, fun, and historic afternoon.
Last year during the holidays, the Wall Street Journal published a wonderful Infographic called “The Science of Lines: What’s Really Happening at Checkout.” It deals with queueing theory, and people’s perceptions about waiting in line.
It’s loaded with useful information, and since we missed it last year, we thought we’d share it with you now. Take a look, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below, and we’ll do our best to answer.
For a larger view, simply click on the graphic.
Last Tuesday, the Miami Heat kicked off their 2012-2013 season with a win against the Boston Celtics. In addition to an opening night victory, there was also a ring ceremony, and the raising of the championship banner – a truly electric night.
The guys weren’t the only ones showing off new bling. American Airlines Arena uncovered some new additions as well. One of the hottest additions debuted was the Hyde Nightclub inside the Heat’s Arena. It’s a 5,000 square foot club with its own separate entrance, multiple bars and lounges, large screen TVs, and a private dining area.
The Hyde in American Airlines Arena is part of a larger initiative to open other Hyde clubs in similar venues. The group behind this effort is sbe, a leading innovator in the hospitality, restaurant, and entertainment industries.
Since we’ve worked with sbe in the past, they consulted us again for this project, and we were happy to outfit them with over 50 stanchions for the club. Congratulations to the Heat and sbe on their many successes!
For more on this story, click here.