While some festival-goers may choose a weekend of wellies, wet-wipes and tents, others prefer to opt for an event that’s only a tube ride away.
Every summer, London’s many parks come alive with music and dancing. Festival-goers may be there to let their hair down, but they shouldn’t ignore the potential risks associated with large gatherings such as theft, alcohol and drug abuse, violence and even terrorism.
While each event will have its own specific security considerations, we’ve gathered some general tips for staying safe at London park festivals:
Before setting off, find out where the nearest tube station to the festival entrance is and check the latest travel information on the TFL Journey Planner.
Also, consider topping up your Oyster Card before arriving at the festival to avoid congestion at the station later on.
Due to London’s licensing laws, most festivals have a curfew of 10pm or 11pm, so many revellers will choose to go to a club afterwards. If you’re going to an after-party, consider planning your journeys there and home in advance, and if you use a taxi or minicab ensure they’re licensed.
Whether you’re travelling from nearby or are just in the city for the weekend, follow our tips on staying safe and secure in London.
With the current climate, expect security to be tight and be prepared for stringent searches on the way in. Be patient. Remember, security staff are there for your safety: being uncooperative at the gates could delay entry or even stop you getting in at all.
Bring as little as possible with you to prevent further delays at security. If you want to bring a bag, consider that most festivals don’t allow big bags into the arena. Many festivals now ban all liquids including makeup and perfume, and will test sun cream and vape fluid on arrival. Check the T&Cs and prohibited items list for the specific event you’re attending.
Inside the park, there will be a high presence of visible event staff and security personnel so if you see or hear anything suspicious, speak to the nearest steward or security officer who will assist or locate the correct assistance. If an emergency develops, make sure to follow the guidance of security guards as they are trained to deal with such incidents.
Read our article of what to do in the event of a terrorist attack here.
Despite security measures, festival-goers may be at risk of theft and assault, and London park events are no exception.
Indeed, the festival with the most theft and pickpocketing in 2015 was Wireless at Finsbury Park, with one in 531 people having valuables stolen and £124,000 reported lost or stolen, according to police figures. This was followed by South West Four in Clapham where there was a one in 640 chance of being pickpocketed.
To help prevent loss or theft, make sure you only bring what you need: avoid taking unnecessary items such as additional credit cards, excess cash or car keys.
Always keep your belongings on you, ideally in zipped pockets or in a money belt, but avoid putting money, bank cards or phones in your back pocket. If you do need a bag, consider a small cross-body one. In the festive atmosphere you may not notice possessions going missing, so keep an eye on your stuff.
And it’s not just petty crimes which can occur: a recent survey suggested that nearly half of female festival-goers (43 percent) under 40 have faced unwanted sexual behaviour at a music festival. Meanwhile, earlier this summer, four men were stabbed as violence erupted at the Garage Nation festival in north-east London.
Be alert and notify event staff if you’re worried about anything. If a serious or life-threatening crime occurs, alert a member of event security or a police officer immediately. If you can’t find someone, call 999.
If a non-serious crime occurs, report it to festival staff or call the police non-emergency number, 101.
Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly: think sun cream, waterproofs and practical footwear.
Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer at the loos to prevent catching a nasty bug!
Stay hydrated, particularly if you’re drinking alcohol and it’s a hot day. Free water should be available so bring along an empty plastic bottle and keep topping up.
It’s only too easy to get carried away with the festive atmosphere, so pace yourself and try to avoid getting too intoxicated in unfamiliar situations where you could lose control, make risky decisions and become less aware of danger.
If someone becomes unconscious or unresponsive, put them in the recovery position and alert event staff who’ll seek medical assistance.
For further guidance on alcohol and other drugs, see the Festival Safe website.
Agree on a time and place to meet your friends in case you get separated, both inside the arena during the event and outside the venue afterwards, and keep your phone charged in case you need to get in touch with them.
Familiarise yourself with the layout of the festival site early on so can find your way around and locate event staff and emergency-exits if necessary.
Churchill Security is a nationwide security guard company. We provide a variety of security services, including event security, party security and festival security. Our security staff are trained to the highest levels and are able to provide a variety of expert services.