How to Effectively Manage Crowds at Events

By Sam Iontton25/10/2021

Whether it’s a music concert, outdoor festival, sporting event or business conference, crowd management is crucial if you’re planning a large event. To make sure you get it right for your upcoming event, read up on our tips for successfully managing large crowds of people.


The importance of crowd management at events

Crowd management is vital in big crowds for the purpose of safety. Whenever there is a large number of people in one place, there’s a higher risk of accidents and injury. If entrances and exits aren’t properly managed, too many people can try and get through at once, leading to injury and even fatalities.

Emotions can also run high at events, especially when alcohol is present. If a crowd becomes violent, mob mentality can make things escalate quickly. Ensuring you have efficient crowd management is crucial for helping reduce violence and limit damage to both people and property.


How to manage crowds at events

There are a few simple things you can do to efficiently manage large crowds in any outdoor or indoor venue:

1.Have queue barriers

One of the easiest means of crowd control is to use queue barriers. Queue barriers help show attendees where they need to be in the venue. Using them at ticket stations, registration points, or entrances also helps ensure a controlled flow of people, rather than a large crowd entering at once. If there are restricted areas of the venue, use barricades to prevent access too. Additionally, consider the use of retractable barriers for flexibility in managing queues and ensuring a tidy, organised layout. This also allows for quick adjustments based on crowd size and flow, ensuring optimal crowd management.

2. Make check-ins easy

You’ll also need to make sure check-in is as quick and easy as possible to avoid long queues and agitated attendees. Boredom and frustration can quickly turn into an opportunity for aggression in some scenarios, so be sure to have an efficient queueing system in place. You can do this by:

  • Having several check-in points if the location allows it.
  • Letting attendees check-in online.
  • Using e-tickets or apps with quickly scannable QR codes.

 Consider using technology like facial recognition for faster processing and assigning dedicated lanes for pre-registered attendees to expedite entry.


3. Place staff at key locations

Once you’ve determined the number of attendees to your event, ensure you have enough staff to manage the crowds. The staff at your venue should be placed strategically. Entrances, exits, registration points – all key areas inside and outside should be manned.

Staff members should be familiar with the layout and be able to usher attendees when needed. It’s also a good idea to give your staff a uniform, so they’re easily identifiable – even if it’s just a bright polo shirt. Providing them with clear instructions on how to handle various scenarios can also ensure a smooth and efficient event flow.


4. Hire security staff

Additionally, you may wish to hire trained security personnel. This may not be necessary for smaller events, but if you’re anticipating large crowds and potentially rowdy behaviour, hire third-party security staff. Their roles will be to look out for illegal substances, intervene with conflict and keep an eye out for suspicious activity. These professionals can also assist with crowd control measures, ensuring that attendees follow the event rules and guidelines, thus maintaining a safe environment for everyone.


5. Ensure means of communication

An essential part of crowd management at events is good communication. You need to be able to contact the crowds and ensure the venue and security staff can easily communicate throughout the venue. Effective communication includes:

  • Walkie talkies for staff members.
  • A tannoy system for public announcements.

 Additionally, consider implementing an event app that can send real-time notifications to attendees, providing them with updates, changes, or emergency information instantly. This not only keeps attendees informed but also enhances the overall event experience.


6. Provide clear signage

Good event signage is key at a venue – particularly large ones. Attendees need to be able to find their way around quickly and without trouble. Your signs should be easily readable from across the room and indicate areas such as:

  • Toilets
  • Smoking areas
  • Bars
  • Check-in points
  • Entrances and exits

Depending on your venue, you may wish to use a mix of signs, including overhanging signs, wall-mounted signs and A-boards. Additionally, to effectively manage large crowds and enhance visibility, consider incorporating custom flags and banners. These can be strategically placed to draw attention to key entrances or event areas. Their height and mobility make them ideal for outdoor settings and they can also serve as a visual guide for attendees from a distance. For outdoor events, using barriers linked with branded signage can help in controlling the crowd flow while maintaining the event's aesthetic.

7. Have a contingency plan

At any event of any size, things can go wrong. You should plan for the worst-case scenario and how you’ll deal with it should it occur. Staff should be briefed beforehand and know how to act in line with your contingency plans. It’s essential to keep control of the situation, regardless of any unplanned occurrence. Outdoor venue? Plan for what you’ll do in case of a downpour. Emergency situation? Be sure your staff know the emergency exits and can usher attendees calmly to safety.


Follow these tips on how to manage crowds at events, and you can ensure your event goes smoothly. A good queueing system, plenty of signage, and the correct number of trained, properly briefed staff across your venue will help ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.