Access All Areas October 2019 - Page 53

OCTOBER | NOEA COLUMN Who looks after the people who look after the people? At its core, this is a people industry, says NOEA CEO Susan Tanner I f events are about anything, they are about people; bringing them together in celebration, memory, in shared interests or communities, tribes and fan groups. The wonder of a great event is in bringing people together of every shape and size. One of the difficulties in bringing together in such large numbers, is that people are by their nature unpredictable. Increasingly the industry is wrestling with the idea of control, responsibility and even liability when it comes to the actions of people when bought together in large numbers. I was talking this week with some colleagues in the industry, about the size of many events. Some are so large they can be equated to large towns, with all the positives and negatives that come with it. The industry needs to understand its place in the safety of these people, and how much event organisers can be accountable for them or their actions. That is just one of the themes we’ll be addressing at this year’s NOEA Convention, taking place again in Bath, 27th November. Not only are we looking at the responsibilities of organisers within their own event campus’s, but also their responsibilities to guests as they arrive and leave the event; the so-called exclusions zone or zone X. We’re looking at what happens when the event loses control of its audience, what happens if things go wrong, and who looks after who. What happens if bigger forces such as the police need to take control of a site. Equally, we can’t wait to have Bev Osborne back from Training 4 Resilience, who will be running another workshop which will put our own delegates right in the middle of a storm! But we’re also looking at who looks after the people who look after the people. I’m constantly mindful of the fact that people who run events do so because of their talents in organisation, “What we’re not looking at is how well trained these people are in dealing with, well … people” production, entertainment, working with partners etc. These talented individuals are then in turn supported by volunteers and additional staffing, again these people are chosen because of their passion for the outdoor events industry Perhaps what we’re not looking at is how well trained these people are in dealing with, well … people. Not just on a day to day basis, greeting people with a smile and knowing where the toilets are, but when things go wrong, when the pressure is on and emotions are running high. We put ourselves, and the people that work with us, under a huge amount of pressure. Can they really be ready for this? We’re delighted to have a number of event professionals, and some real experts in mental health & wellbeing, join us to look at how we look after the people whom we entrust our audiences to. How good are we really as an industry when it comes to showing due care to our staff? In my opinion, as ever with this industry, our ideas and our intent are just and well thought through, however in this age of increased understanding of mental health and wellbeing, maybe there is an added layer of professionalism needed. I’m really looking forward to hearing what others have to say on this as well, and in hearing NOEA members, and those new to our association, talk about this important subject. It’s going to be another informative and challenging day, and I hope to see many of you there. 53