13. Stewarding


13.1 Chapter 18 and Appendix D of the Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds 1 sets out the duties, training, etc., of stewards at events held in sports grounds and should be read in conjunction with this Chapter. Many of the duties of stewards at pop concerts are the same as those of stewards at sports events but there are important differences. The general access principle means that spectators can move freely throughout most parts of the stadium at pop concerts. Dangers of crushing at front-of-stage, the presence of spectators on the pitch and the length of time spectators are present in the ground are all factors that require the duties of stewards to be adjusted for pop concerts.

13.2 The Promoter has the responsibility to maintain good order at the venue and for appointing a staff of competent stewards for this purpose. To this end the Promoter should appoint a Chief Steward who should co-ordinate the responsibilities of all stewards, including stewards from security firms, and should attend all pre-event and post-event meetings. Control of Stewards should be organised from the Central Control Room with an efficient means of communication. The Chief Steward should be directly accountable to and report directly to the Event Controller. There should be direct and efficient communication available to them. Radio/telephone systems should be in use for this purpose.

13.3 The grounds should be divided into zones to facilitate organised stewarding. Each zone should be in the charge of a designated Supervisory Steward. If appropriate, zones should be sub-divided into sectors to facilitate more efficient stewarding. This system is to be commended for major events. Gridded maps should he prepared showing the extent of each zone and sector. Maps should be augmented by an organisational chart indicating the reporting functions of every steward. Every steward should have a well defined role with a clear understanding of her/his control and reporting functions within the managerial structure. The Chief Steward and the Event Controller are each required to perform different functions. One person cannot fulfill the duties of both posts.

Age, Fitness and Identification

13.4 The stewards should be not less than 18 years of age, be under 55 years of age, be physically fit, be adequately trained and instructed in their duties, and wear distinctive dress such as fluorescent jackets or bright or fluorescent coloured tee-shirts.

Armbands are not a sufficient means of identification. Each tee-shirt or jacket should bear a distinctive identifying number.

13.5 A register should be prepared with the name and address of each steward including stewards employed by professional security firms. The number on the register should correspond to the number which should be clearly shown on the front and back of the fluorescent jacket or tee-shirt worn by each steward. This register should be made available to the Gardaí before the event.

Duties and Responsibilities of Stewards

13.6 Each steward should be fully briefed on her/his duties and issued with clear, written instructions. They should be permitted to familiarise themselves beforehand with the particular area of the ground which is relevant to their responsibilities.

13.7 There must be a preplanned strategy for dealing with problems. As indicated at Paragraphs 13.2 and 13.3 there must be a structured plan for stewards with reporting arrangements clearly set out and each steward knowing where s/he fits into the overall plan.

13.8 Stewards engaged on stewarding at the front-of-stage barriers should receive appropriate training in their duties beforehand. They should be competent in the art of lifting distressed patrons out of the crowd, able to prevent patrons from climbing on to the stage and have a knowledge of rescue tactics, first-aid and crowd control psychology. Additional stewards will be required at the back of stage area.

13.9 A maximum period in which stewards should be on continuous duty should be determined. There should be an arrangement in place for catering for the stewards and for arranging their fixed breaks.

13.10 While on duty they should not be engaged in other activities which would prevent them from carrying out their functions. They should not leave their posts without the permission of their supervisory steward.

13.11 Stewards and other staff should not be stationed for long periods close to the loud speakers without hearing protection.

13.12 Stewards should:-

(i) be courteous to the general public;

(ii) be aware of the position of fire-fighting equipment and arrangements for medical facilities, first-aid and ambulances;

(iii) be familiar with the Site Emergency Plan, their part in its operation and specified duties to be undertaken in an emergency;

(iv) give immediate access to Gardaí and other emergency services in the event of an emergency and also when requested by the Gardaí;

(v) be positioned at all exits, entrances and key points where control is most needed, particularly in any control area near the stage and all points of entry to covered accommodation;

(vi) control and/or direct spectators who are entering or leaving the ground and help achieve an even flow of people to the viewing areas;

(vii) be competent to recognise crowd densities, signs of crowd distress and crowd dynamics so as to help ensure safe dispersal of spectators on terraces, pitch or viewing slopes and ensure there is no overcrowding in any part of the venue;

(viii) exercise proper control over the audience: their primary duty is to take care of, assist and not to use excessive force in dealing with any member of the public;

(ix) ensure that concourses, staircases, passage-ways and exits are kept clear and free from obstruction at all times;

(x) prevent any standing on seats, climbing on fences and on other structures: it in difficulty they should immediately contact the Supervisory Steward or a Garda;

(xi) patrol the ground and its surrounds to deal with any emergencies, e.g., raising alarms or tackling early stages of fire;

(xii) assist Gardaí with crowd control as requested;

(xiii) on request from the Gardaí, assist at barriers checking tickets and giving information to patrons approaching the venue;

(xiv) investigate promptly any disturbance or other incident coming to notice;

(xv) report immediately to her/his Supervisory Steward or Garda, if any fire or other emergency comes to notice;

(xvi) be capable of recognising potential hazards and suspect packages, reporting such findings to the Supervisory Steward or Garda;

(xvii) assist in the prevention of breaches of ground regulations as indicated in Appendix E of the Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds; and

(xviii) report to the Supervisory Steward, if any damage likely to cause injury or danger to persons in attendance comes to notice.

Stewarding Requirements

13.13 The number of stewards on duty at a pop concert will depend on the venue, type of artist and the audience. The number of stewards for a particular concert should be fixed, taking all circumstances into account, in consultation with the Gardaí. Should the majority of the audience be under sixteen years of age, extra stewards will be required and they should be distributed so as to exert effective control, particularly in front-of-stage area and the front rows of elevated seating accommodation in stands.

A likely requirement at enclosed venues will be one steward for 250 persons in stands and terraces and one steward for 100 persons in open areas. This number should be doubled for audiences under 16 years of age.

13.14 Fire Stewards should be appointed to patrol constantly throughout the period of the event. This should be arranged in consultation with the Local Authority. Fire Stewards should receive training in the use of any particular piece of equipment which they are required to use and be familiar with its operation.

The Fire Stewards should ensure that any outbreak of fire is promptly detected and after first raising the alarm, they should immediately assist in evacuating the affected part of the venue if considered necessary, and take all possible steps to eliminate the hazard safely.

13.15 There should be a fixed number of stewards on duty at all times. A reserve team of stewards should be readily available to replace stewards at meal intervals, etc., or if required in any area should the need arise.

13.16 Personal radio handsets should be of uniform specification to facilitate compatibility. Each handset should use the same frequency.

13.17 If professional firms are used for stewarding they must be subject to the control of the Chief Steward. The firms’ Heads of Security should attend all planning and post event meetings.

13.18 Supervisory Stewards should be competent and trained in fire control, emergency evacuation and first-aid.

13.19 Stewards/security personnel should not consume alcohol at any time during the period of the open-air entertainment.

13.20 Stewards should not use dogs for stewarding or other security purposes while the general public are present at the venue.

13.21 An adequate number of stewards should be competent and trained in the special needs of disabled people and be capable of rendering assistance to them.


1. Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds, Stationery Office, Dublin, 1996.