There’s no denying that when it comes to music you can’t beat a good live gig. When your favourite band is on stage belting out some of their classic tracks with passion while you and a horde of other fans watch and listen together, you feel an involvement and intimacy that you just can’t get from listening to the same tunes on your iPod.

Great music at a fantastic venue, but where? More so than ever Stadiums who normally host football, rugby or cricket matches are used as venues to stage music.

As artists and promoters seek to reach a wider fan base, sports grounds are increasingly viewed as ideal concert venues as they have excellent facilities, are able to hold large numbers and are experienced in managing crowds.

The Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) have published new guidance on the alternative use of Sports Grounds. They identify the main factors when considering such change of use as:

Key factors for consideration when hosting an alternative event at a sports ground;

  • The site plan – take account of the additional equipment and resources needed to support the activities or event.
  • Calculating the safe number of people who can stand on the pitch or field of play.
  • Determining the appropriate crowd densities for standing areas on the pitch or field of play.
  • Barrier layouts to be determined by the age profile of the anticipated audience.
  • Preparation of the Event Operations Manual (Event Safety Plan).
  • The impact of enhanced sports presentation for some sports.
  • Integrated safety management planning.
  • Introduces the Last Mile model of crowd management.

Bruce Springsteen is one of my favourite artists and I have seen him at many Football Stadiums from Sheffield to London. My first time seeing him was in 1985 at Sheffield.

Some may say that this guide is very overdue given that for many years great artists have entertained us across the UK’s fabulous Stadiums.

So much has changed sine I first started going to gigs, is the Sports Ground designated or not? Special safety certificates need to sought and approved, legislation such as:

Licensing Act 2003 – Planning and building regulations – Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

all have to be considered and worked towards compliance with or the event will not be sanctioned to go ahead.

I have read my new copy “Alternative uses of Sports Grounds” newly published by SGSA. It is comprehensive, well researched and informative. It will become an essential reference point to Concert Promoters, Safety Officers and Management to guide the safe and enjoyable staging of music gigs we all enjoy.