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Thoughts from Cuckoo HQ
Oct 16

Queuing And Crowd Issues At Justin Bieber Concert In Netherlands

A recent concert by Justin Bieber in the Netherlands saw some serious crowd management issues around queuing and the crowd's entry to the event.

Coincidentally, this week's #EventPlannersTalk was about queuing and queue management. It was a quiet chat this week with not too many interacting but I enjoyed it. I made the point during the chat that the DIM (Design, Information, Management) approach to queuing is very important and not giving it the focus it deserves can cause serious problems.

Case in point, perhaps. . . 

Videos have surfaced of some issue outside of a Justin Bieber concert in Arnhem in the Netherlands this week. 

UPDATE - 12/10/16

Alan Wilson in Australia (@CrowdControlGuy over on Twitter) brought this video to my attention too. 

This is definitely NOT how you manage a crowd coming into a concert. 

Issues easily identified in the videos above include:

  • Gate(s) being opened into an area with no management or infrastructure in place for the excitable fans
  • Hundreds (at least) of young fans running, with at least some falling
  • CCBs used to hold back the crowd with at least some falling under the pressure
  • People climbing CCBs in an effort to get into the pit / golden circle queue
  • At least one person falling just beyond the CCB line and representing a hazard for others seeking to do same
  • Very few security personnel trying to manage the situation
  • The impression that the barrier configuration was planned to some degree, given that there seems to be a progression into different 'pens'
  • One forklift moving against the crowd as they enter
  • That forklift then parks up in front of another forklift in the area they're bringing people into the concert
  • An 'entry system' being operated whereby a security guard pulls open a CCB link and stands there to let a few in at a time
  • An 'entry system' whereby the crowd are let move from a 'pen' (inside CCBs) to a much more open space only to be stopped in the open space for ticket-scanning 
  • Approximately 500+ people in the CCB 'queuing system' externally, being let in a couple at a time
  • One girl who is either extremely tall or standing on something she shouldn't be in order to peer in over the line of heras fencing at the front
  • This heras fence line is scramming (i.e. a sight-kill), which has its pros and cons but can be very effective as part of a properly designed and managed entry system

The bottom line

There are some simple mistakes made here.

The audience demographic for this concert, their characteristics and likely behaviour should have led to an enhancement of standard procedures and staffing levels. 

I sincerely hope THIS wasn't an enhancement. . . 

Can you see any more issues in the videos? 

Let me know in the COMMENTS section below. 

Thanks to @ekantnl for the heads-up on this one

Queue Master
May 13, 2017, 11:47 AM

Now it’s time for India to welcome Bieber. Let’s see how the organisers will be handling the excited crowds.

Queue Manager
May 13, 2017, 10:17 AM

Events should definitely be planned in a better way to avoid such incidents and crowd control equipment should be installed for managed organizations.

Mark Breen
October 15, 2016, 11:08 PM

Cheers for the comment JC. I think it's fair to say that all of us working in the crowd management / event safety industry echo your sentiments. It's all too common that people running events don't even realise how close they were to having things go horribly wrong or how ill-prepared they were for anything going wrong. This is happening time and time again and the most exasperating thing is that a LOT of these problems wouldn't necessarily need a big investment on the likes of us. A decent minimum standard of training and understanding could solve a lot of it. Mark

Jon Corbishley
October 15, 2016, 11:01 PM

What is more surprising is that this is not new. This audience demographic has behaved in this way for many years. Starting with Beatlemania, prigressing through Wham, Take That, East 17 etc in the 80s & 90s up to Bieber, 1 Direction, 5SOS etc today. Those of us in the profession "Crowd Managers" plan for and deal with these situations routinely and the majority are successful, safe events with happy customers who had a great night and went home delighted. How venues and event organisers can continue to be so unprepared and regularly surprised by such behaviour is beyond belief. Blaming parents when most sane parents would expect to drop off young patrons to this events sounds like a knee-jerk reaction from some seriously un-prepared people. I should declare an interest at this point; as with any industry, bring in the right expertise. Employ a qualified crowd manager.

October 15, 2016, 06:31 PM

Hi Eric. Cheers for the comment. Re CCBs - we term those pedestrian barriers as CCBs here in Ireland. The distinction is between those and mojo barriers. They ARE pedestrian barriers, as such and used (properly) to delineate routes and separate public from off-limits areas etc. They are, as you point out, not designed to take pressure. With respect to the use of DIM-ICE, I suspect you may be correct in wondering whether it was used at all in this instance. The elements you point out needing to be considered beyond ICE are important ones. I tend to consider those during RAMP analysis mainly and use DIM-ICE as it is. The tools are for developing and adapting and that's how it should be. Thought and effort needs to go into these things so that people are safe at events. There are SO many holes in what happened in Arnhem that it's quite frustrating.

Eric stuart QPM
October 15, 2016, 06:09 AM

Of course the parents were to blame. It is always the first reaction of officials to blame the injured or those close to them, Hillsborough, Haaj... it's a long list. The problems here are multiple but just a couple of points. The CCB'S mentioned are not crowd control barrier. They appear to be lightweight pedestrian barriers with no crowd pressure resistance whatsoever. Good barrier but not for the purpose they are in use. The second is the very old problem of DIMICE being used without fully understanding the context (if it was used at all) The ICE phase begins at ingress, and that is too late. It needs to go way back to understanding the motivation of those who are attending which is why the cabinet office EPC have used AAICED for the last 5 years. Arrival, Assembled, Ingress, Circulation, Egress and Dispersal. It has to start by thinking about where they are coming from, when they will arrive and how they will behave once they get there. If you start with Ingress, you have already failed.

October 12, 2016, 08:46 PM

Hi Gerry. There are definite parallels between the two, for sure. It's painful to keep seeing the same mismanagement of events.

October 12, 2016, 08:45 PM

Hi Syan. Thanks for your comment. Are you serious about the city and province blaming the parents? That's a new one on me. This isn't an issue particular to the Netherlands, in fairness, but it is ridiculous.

Gerry Reynolds
October 12, 2016, 02:53 PM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/8360560.stm Reminds me of the JLS Shambles in Birmingham in 2009

October 12, 2016, 10:32 AM

Hi Mark, you're absolutely right. Can you imagine this wasn't even the first time that Bieber performed here? Next to the crowd management 'issues', there were terrible traffic jams because many concert goers were brought by their parents. Yesterday the stadium, the city of Arnhem and the province stated that the parents were to blame for the traffic jams. That's a classic.

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