6.1 The stage should be of substantial construction with its floor set as high as possible but not less than 3m above ground. The stage and other temporary structures such as camera and light stands should be designed for dead, imposed and wind loadings to BS 6399 1. The steelwork should comply with BS 5950.2 The cladding materials should comply with BS 476 Parts 6 and 73 and, where appropriate, with the Code of Practice for Fire Safety of Furnishings and Fittings in Places of Assembly.4 The stage should have a minimum of two exits, situated remote from each other and should have access remote from the audience. The exits should be kept clear of obstruction by equipment and cables at all times. Storage of combustible materials should not be permitted under, behind or on the stage. Side stages or “screamers” which allow the performers to move laterally on each side of the main stage should be provided as this will reduce the tendency of the crowd to converge towards the centre. A “thrust” or projection of the stage into the audience is not recommended as this leads to aggravated crowd excitement and the formation of concave pockets from which the crowd cannot escape. Front-of-stage should be at least 2.5 metres forward of P.A. towers. When considering material for the construction of the stage it is suggested that timber or plywood thicker than 25mm or 19mm respectively would be suitable. Further guidance can be obtained in the publication “Temporary Demountable Structures: Guidance on Procurement, Design and Use.5
6.2 The stage should also be designed to provide a safe working area for performers and crew members.
6.3 The area immediately in front of the stage is of prime importance. This is where crowd density is at a maximum and where the potential for accidents and serious injury is ever present.
The general principle should be to achieve the widest possible sightlines while maintaining sterile areas at each end of the front-of-stage barrier to ensure that the exits are kept clear. There should be exits at either side of stage to ensure adequate provision to facilitate ease of evacuation for distressed persons.
6.4 Large video screens (e.g., ‘starscreens’) which relay the performance can reduce the tendency of the crowd to push towards the front. Screens can also be positioned in other locations to divert some of the audience away from the stage. These screens, which should be visible in daylight, can be used to provide information, urgent messages and entertainment before the concert and during breaks. Artists should be encouraged to use such screens.
6.5 Guidance on structural and other considerations in relation to temporary stands and other temporary structures is contained in Chapter 14 of the Code of Practice for Safety in Sports Grounds.6 The procedures outlined therein in relation to structural design, sitting, erection, management during use and dismantling should also be applied to the stage, mixing towers and other ancillary structures.
1. BS 6399: Loading for buildings: Part 1: 1984 Code of Practice for dead and imposed loads, Part 2: 1995: Code of Practice for wind loads, Part 3: 1988: Code of Practice for imposed roof loads, British Standards Institution, London.
2. BS 5950: Structural use of steelwork in building, Part 1: 1990, Code of Practice for design in simple and continuous construction: hot rolled sections, British Standards Institution, London.
3. BS 476: Fire tests on building materials and structures, Part 6: 1989: Method for classification of test for fire propagation for products; Part7: Method for the classification of the surface spread of flame of products, British Standards Institution, London.
4. Code of Practice for Fire Safety of Furnishings and Fittings in Places of Assembly, Stationery Office, Dublin, 1989.
5. Temporary Demountable Structures: Guidance on Procurement, Design and Use, Institution of Structural Engineers, London, 1995.
6. Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds, Stationery Office, Dublin, 1996.