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Thoughts from Cuckoo HQ
Sep 12

For YOUR Safety - Mojo Barriers Are A Must

You know those barriers at the front of a stage at festivals etc.? They're mojo barriers. They're very important.

I've been at a few events lately, both working as a Safety Officer and attending as a customer, and on each occasion I was struck, for different reasons, by how there are so many elements to event safety that the absolute vast majority of the public are not even aware of. Some of these elements are so intrinsic to safe events that those of us involved in event management and event safety would rarely, if ever, consider running an event without them.

So I thought I'd do a series of blog posts that outline some of these safety elements and try to explain why they're so essential.

Let's start with Mojo Barriers.

Mojo Barriers are used at most concerts / events where there's a need to separate the crowd from the stage. These were developed specifically for front of stage areas back in the 1980s buy a Dutch company as an alternative to the normal crowd control barriers or 'cow gate' barriers that had previously been used front of stage.

NOTE: 'Mojo barrier' has become a general term for this type of barrier, much like Hoover has become a word to describe vacuum cleaners. There are barriers created and developed by the originators, now known as (The) Mojo Barriers. and then there are other companies making versions of a front of stage barrier all of which are generally referred to as 'mojo barriers' even though they're not manufactured by Mojo Barriers Ltd.

Here's a few pictures of front of stage barriers in situ and in action and a couple of cow gate barriers. You can see the difference.

Using normal crowd control barriers at the front of a stage proved (obviously enough, in hindsight) to be extremely unsafe in the event of a crowd surge towards the stage. These barriers were only ever supposed to be used as guide barriers to delineate areas and queueing systems etc. With pressure from a crowd towards the stage normal cow gate barriers will tip over and or come apart, thus representing a safety hazard themselves. In instances where the pressure wasn't enough for them to tip or come apart there were incidents of people being crushed and suffocated against them.

Mojo barriers were developed specifically to be used front of stage and have a number of basic features which make them suited to this purpose.

Chief among these is he fact that they have a base plate that the audience actually stand on which uses their own weight as a counter-balance ensuring forward movement won't cause the barrier line to tip over. Does that make sense?

Secondly on the stage side of the barrier is what we call a 'police step' which allows safety & security staff to step up on to in order to facilitate removal of audience members in distress at the barrier.

They the basic features. If you take a look here you'll see the features of the Alu Barrier from Mojo Barriers which is the current mass produced mojo barrier from the originators at Mojo Barriers.

As you can see the product has evolved to include a lot of practical features which have been incorporated after years of use at festivals and events. They are now much more than a counter-balance barrier with a police step. They now include 'porous' base plates so as to avoid pooling of spilled liquids which, itself, would represent a hazard as well as rolled tops to make the mojos more comfortable for crowds to lean on.

In fact, Mojo Barriers have just this month launched the newest version of their standard mojo barrier as part of the travelling rig for the European leg of Madonna's MDNA tour, as reported here by EventIndustryNews.co.uk (also thanks to them for the featured image on this blog post, which shows Cees Muurling & Appi Thörig from Mojo Barriers ).

So, for Your Safety:

  • If you're at a concert that's got a large crowd and a front of stage area that's likely to be busy and you're not met with proper mojo barriers up there, I would suggest you find somewhere else to enjoy the concert from.
  • Keep an eye out for your fellow concert-goers and perhaps advise others that it may not be the best place for them to be either.

FYI - Even WITH proper mojo barriers at front of stage, I would suggest that people need to be, at a minimum, tall enough that they can lean atop the barrier. I would also always suggest that young children and older people not remain at the barrier or within the first few rows. A smile and a suggestion cost nothing.

A lot of people simply do not realise the potential for discomfort and potential danger at the front of stage.

Mojo barriers help to greatly reduce that danger.

Any experiences with mojo barriers or lack thereof?

Any suggestions for future features for the Your Safety series?

Ian Greenhedge
September 25, 2020, 12:25 PM

I have been in crowd management over 25 years however haven't done much CPD of late so recently went on a course delivered bt a highly regarded and influential person. During the course he said Mojo Barrier was now designed to move. Is this the case? Have I missed something? To me any Mojo Barrier movement is highly dangerous. Can you enlighten me please.

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