June 6, 2023

Small & Gutsy Features Event Safety Alliance

Remember your first concert, remember the excitement, the smells, the anticipation, remember being wowed by the band, remember standing up or maybe standing on your seat  ready to join in with the crowd as a familiar cord was struck on the guitar or keyboard and sing or scream along - almost forgetting that you're an audience member - we get caught up in that glorious moment, but most of us don't often realize how much preparation goes into those events and I'm not talking about the featured band or headliner, but those in the background that work tirelessly so we can be safe…Most of the time, we are, and sadly, sometimes things don't work out as planned….Most of us assume that when we purchase tickets to a venue, that we are figuratively and literally purchasing the insurance that all the behind the scenes preparation has been carefully thought through and executed without a hitch and that we will be safe…we have put our faith in the hands of experts, but who are these folks?

Safety at events became its own unfortunate headliner after the band, Sugarland was about to perform at the Indiana State Fair on August 13, 2011. A severe weather system with high winds moved through the Indianapolis area - a Powerful gust of wind toppled the temporary outdoor roof that had been erected over the Fair's permanent main stage; large parts of the roof and supporting structure fell onto the folks gathered at the front of the stage - this tragedy left 7 dead and more than 40 others injured; Opinions ranged from an unforseable act of G-D to an avoidable consequence of human error. The fingerpointing encompassed everyone from the event's organizers, crowd mangers, and roof technicians to safety inspectors and weather forecasters.

A group led by Jim Digby, tour manager for the band Linkin Park, decided to take matters into its own hands and formed the Event Safety Alliance or ESA. This group is comprised of live-event industry professionals and is a non-profit membership driven organization dedicated to "life safety first"- I love that tagline- and promoitng THAT throughout all phases of event production and execution.  ESA's mission is to help event professionals and participants be Empowered, Safe, and Aware of the reasonably foreseeable risks around them and they do this through Education, Skills training, and Advocacy.

Check out this episode!

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