14. Crowd Management


14.1 Guidance regarding ingress is given in Chapter 8 of the Code of Practice for Safety at Sports Grounds. 1

Access to the Grounds/Site

14.2 At outdoor events there should, with the co-operation of the Gardaí, be preliminary searches and ticket checks at the approach roads to the grounds.

14.3 A public address system or loudspeaker system should convey instructions to patrons inside and outside the ground. Under no circumstances should money be accepted at the gate. A ticket only situation should apply at a major concert. If tickets must be sold on the day of the concert, booths should be set up outside the Garda cordon for this purpose, so as not to undermine the purpose of the cordon.

14.4 Supervisory Stewards should be positioned at each entry point, be in radio contact with Central Control Room and should generally be in a position to observe crowd movements, crowd build-up and pressure points.

14.5 It is advisable to ensure line discipline for searches and ticket checks.

14.6 A reserve team of stewards and staffing should be provided to deal with emergency situations.

14.7 Crowd density should be controlled at a considerable distance from entrances and corrals should be used to break up the crowd so as to avoid pushing, etc.

14.8 Tapered columns can be made from barrier formations which are narrow at the start but which get wider close to the entry point. These barriers must be removed before egress commences.

Refusal of Admission

14.9 Patrons found in possession of alcohol, cans, bottles, any offensive weapons or drugs should not be admitted to the site or stadium.

14.10 Patrons under the influence of drugs or alcohol should not be admitted. The Gardaí may require temporary facilities and accommodation for the sale detention of persons arrested at the event. This accommodation should be provided by Ground Management/the Promoter after consultation with the appropriate Garda Officer.

Management of Patrons following Entry to the Ground/Site

14.11 It is desirable that conflict of pedestrian flow should be avoided when patrons enter the site or stadium. If there are sufficient entrances it is wise to arrange for entry at the end of the ground remote from the stage. This will facilitate the exiting/evacuation of patrons from the front-of-stage area. In normal circumstances patrons entering the pitch area should not be admitted through the entrances close to the stage area.

14.12 When entry to the event commences lines of stewards should be positioned across the pitch to slow down patrons as they run forward towards the stage.

14.13 When patrons enter the venue stewards should encourage them to sit on the ground so that there is adequate space for all and there is no immediate pressure on the barriers. It would be helpful, particularly at the beginning of the event, if a Master of Ceremonies (M.C.) or Senior Steward were to give the audience information and ask them to sit. It is important to allow patrons access right up to the front-of-stage barrier as they come in so that no loose space is created in that area as the audience stands up.

14.14 At the commencement of the show, the front-of-stage stewards should move to a position on a ramp behind the front-of-stage barriers.

14.15 Supervisory Stewards with binoculars should be positioned as observers to monitor crowd behaviour particularly at the barriers or in areas of high crowd density. Such stewards should be in radio contact with Central Control Room so as to report their observations, where appropriate, thus enabling suitable action to be taken.

14.16 The practice of “crowd-surfing“ by individual patrons should be discouraged and the crowd should be advised that such patrons will be removed from the concert. This practice, whereby young patrons crawl over the heads of the front of stage crowd, is dangerous and can lead to serious injury. The practice of patrons forming “human pyramids” should be similarly discouraged for the same reasons.

Availability of Water

14.17 The practice of spraying patrons with water hoses is not recommended as hypothermia could be caused by falling temperature. A continuous supply of water should be handed out in plastic cups. Water should always be available close to the stage for drinking purposes and at other selected areas in the venue.

Video Screen(s) and Pre-Event Entertainment

14.18 The provision of video screen(s) at the venue is considered to be particularly advantageous as it enables patrons to see the artists clearly from a distance and helps to keep the crowd good-humoured and to reduce pressure at front-of-stage barriers.

14.19 Arrangements should be made by the promoter to ensure continuous entertainment from the time the gates open to the beginning of the first act and at intervals between acts. This may be in the form of film or recorded music. A good M.C. can greatly assist the good humour of the fans while the main artist is not on stage.

Conduct of Performers

14.20 During the concert, performers should avoid any action which may over excite the audience or endanger public safety. Performers should also remain within the immediate stage area throughout their performance and should not venture into the “pit” area for any reason whatsoever. Promoters should ensure that the concert starts promptly at the advertised time; this applies particularly to the main act. Lengthy intervals between acts are not recommended.

Missing Persons

14.21 Provision should be made for the tracing and identification of missing persons.


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