Thomas Booth – Festival Tip & Tricks

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9th April 2019

I am currently a 3rd year student at Lancaster University. I heard about the opportunity to work for FGH Security over the summer due to the company’s connections with the university rugby union team. At the time I didn’t have any summer plans (post exam season) and saw this as a great way to keep myself busy, earn some money and travel all over the country to different festivals.

I went along to one of the open evenings FGH were hosting in their Lancaster office to find out about the company and the opportunities they had available and I had my interview straight afterwards. The FGH staff were very good at making me feel welcomed and valued. I then went on to complete a door supervision course and gained my SIA licence, meaning I was ready to start work straight after I had finished my exams.

Over the space of the summer, I worked seven festivals, including Kendal Calling (Cumbria) and Manchester Pride (Manchester). As I got further into the festival season, I found myself growing in confidence with regards to communicating over the radio as well as dealing with welfare incidents when they came about. From my experience last summer, this is my advice for students joining the FGH festival team.

  1. Know your way round the festival: As a person in uniform, you will naturally be the first person customers turn to if and when they have questions. These questions can be about anything and everything, but the majority of questions revolve around asking for directions. A good way to show the professionalism of FGH Security is to make sure you are well informed so that you are capable of answering these questions and fulfilling the customer’s needs. In order to do this, I advise exploring the festival site before your first shift so you are able to locate (relative to your deployed location):
  • Each campsite
  • First aid tent
  • Welfare tent
  • Main stage/arena
  • Taxi pickup/drop-off point
  • Nearest water point
  • Nearest showers
  • Nearest toilets
  1. Stay calm when communicating over the radio: In the space of a standard 12 hour shift (particularly when deployed on a campsite), it is likely you will find yourself involved with helping people who are over-intoxicated and who may need medical attention. You may also face situations such as customers being unable to find their own tent. In these incidents, it is important to stay calm and communicate the situation clearly over radio to the control hub or your allocated supervisor.
  1. Maintain your presence and awareness in your deployed location: It is critical to maintain your presence when working. Whether on a static position or roaming around a campsite, your presence will help the customers to feel as safe as possible while at the festival. Talking to the customers in a nice friendly manner will also help them feel at ease knowing they are being looked after by good people.
  1. Embrace the opportunity for extra hours: When on day shifts, I was asked once or twice to work a few extra hours to help with the egress of customers from the main festival fields. This is a great opportunity to show that you’re a team player and prepared to go the extra mile for the company. Not only will this lead to extra pay, but your commitment is likely to be noted and can lead to more interesting positions as the summer goes on.
  1. Bring warm clothing: 1st year employees tend to work night shifts over 50% of the season. When I was on night shifts, my hours were usually 20:00-08:00. Whilst the days tend to be quite warm (especially last summer), the nights were quite cool with temperatures dropping to 10-12 degrees. On a static positon, I would recommend having a fleece with you to put on under your FGH coat to avoid feeling too cold.
  1. Make sure you have a good tent: If you’re going to be sleeping outside 3-4 nights in a row each week, you will want to make sure you own a tent which is capable of keeping you dry in case of heavy rain.

Having the privilege of working alongside some great colleagues and supervisors, I can honestly say that I had a very satisfying experience last summer working with FGH. So much so that by the end of festival season I decided to join the FGH regular team, working as a door supervisor at venues such as Sugarhouse (Lancaster) and The Albert Hall (Manchester). I will be looking forward to another festival season with FGH once I have completed my degree.


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