Music Festival Month: Firefly – This is why Every Event Needs an Evacuation Plan

Music Festival Month: Firefly – This is why Every Event Needs an Evacuation Plan

It’s Music Festival Month on the Decibel blog, where we take a look at the highlights from this summer’s best shindigs. The Firefly Music Festival in Delaware got off to a decent start this year, selling out for the first time ever, but took an operational hit or two as merrymaking was interrupted on the festival’s third day by severe incoming thunderstorms, leaving festival organizers in the unenviable position of evacuating 90,000 people from the Dover Speedway grounds.

Yup, 90,000 people, a painful reminder that every event needs an emergency evacuation plan. The good news is that festival organizers at Red Frog handled the emergency with efficiency and aplomb, and though nobody was particularly excited to leave, no casualties were reported. The festival continued the following day, as planned. So how did they keep things together in a crappy situation?

Making the Announcement

The first task before festival organizers was getting the word out via channels likely to reach the highest number of attendees with all possible speed. Planners announced the closure both on the official Firefly Twitter stream and in person on the performance stages.

Directing Attendees Towards Escape Routes

Those routes should be clearly-marked and unobstructed, well-lit, and well-signed, with personnel directing evacuees and keeping the vibe calm. Ensure there’s assistance on hand for people with disabilities who may be unable to exit the grounds themselves.

Liaise with Local Emergency Services

Appoint one member of the team responsible for keeping emergency services looped in to any developments on your end, and who will ensure that any official directives are followed.

Will the show restart?

Keep attendees notified if or when the show will restart. Organizers utilized social media to keep audiences informed of which shows would be rescheduled, which shows would be cancelled, and when the festival would restart.

Sorry you guys had to deal with nasty whether, but nice save!

David Sonntag
View All