28 April, 2015
Finally, nice weather is here and music festivals seem to proliferate. Good music, warm weather, good company,…but also crowds!
Complying with the maximum capacity limits in a concrete space is not always easy and specially in polyvalent spaces that need to be adapted to the particularities of the event. It’s not the same having all the audience sitting down or standing and dancing. The situation is even more complex if people tend to be concentrated along the dancing floor or corridors. And the challenge becomes simply enormous when festivals or the event take place in an open area with free entrance.
Traditionally, counting people to ensure capacity control has been done manually or using turnstiles. However, this methods present some problems, specially in massive events. On the one hand, manual counting is low accurate: let’s imagine, for instance, the case in which several people enter together or, even worse, visitors going in and out at the same time. On the other hand, turnstiles are accurate in terms of counting but obstruct the normal footfall traffic with the risk of causing agglomerations at the entrance. For all these reasons, there is a growing interest in incorporating automatic people counters, they are accurate while not intrusive. So much so that, several Spanish local governments are reviewing the law related to public entertainment events and recreational activities (being Canary Islands and Catalonia the pioneers) to make mandatory installing an automatic counter people at the entrances of mass events.
We find an example of this trend in the event called Los Palomos, which emerged in Badajoz in 2011 as a response to controversial statements of its mayor. The festival has free entrance, and it has incorporated automatic people counters with the main purpose to better ensure crowd safety with respect to last year (according to the city council’s own words).