The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) facilitated a webinar Jan. 19 on the newly-formed Global Crowd Management Alliance (GCMA), which served as an introduction for Canadians on the network, encouraged memberships from all sectors interested in safety at live gatherings, and highlighted upcoming seminars.
Moderated by Janet Sellery, board chair of the Event Safety Alliance Canada (ESAC), the hour-long panel heard from UK’s Eric Stuart, chair of the Global Crowd Management Alliance, a leading expert on crowd safety for the past 15 years; as well as Alberta’s Chris Kerr, who serves as the treasurer of the GCMA.
“I’ve had the good fortune, over the last couple of years, to be part of the planning initiative to create the Global Crowd Management Alliance,” said Sellery, who calls herself an “advocate,” not expert, with a primary focus on educational health and safety. “I like to think of the GCMA as one of those silver-linings of the pandemic in that we have this opportunity to really focus and create something around an issue that is so critical.”
The GCMA won’t concentrate only on music and sports, but any live event where crowds gather. As an example, Stuart references the more than 40 men and boys that died last April when they were crushed at the Lag B'Omer, an Orthodox Jewish celebration in Israel that attracts tens of thousands (the safety engineer was arrested).
“The basic understanding of a little bit of math, a little bit of physics, a bit of psychology and a little bit of behaviours — why human beings do what they do in certain circumstances — it’s the building blocks to keeping people safe, and the more we understand about that, the better chance we’ve got of keeping them safe,” said Stuart, also the chair of the UKCMA.
The GCMA will also work with police, firefighters, politicians, and other officials to keep spaces safe.
“It’s easy to focus on live music, those are the obvious ones, but airports, malls, religious events, places where people gather are the audiences we want to reach and aggregate data for and study and learn from,” said Kerr, president and co-founder of Calgary-based XA Security since 2004, vice-chair of the ESAC, and production manager for shows for 20 years.
Stuart, a former London police officer for 33 years, whose job led him into the event space and the creation of his crowd safety management company Gentian Events in 2009, co-founded the GCMA with Steve Adelman of the Event Safety Alliance (ESA).
They “announced their intention to create an international partnership regarding crowd management and crowd safety” at the Event Safety Summit in Lititz, Pennsylvania in November 2019.
In January 2021, a working group was formed with the UKCMA, ESA, Event Safety Alliance Canada, and crowd safety advocates from Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.
The panelists went through each page of their deck presentation, explaining their mission: “educate, advocate, motivate,” as well as the GCMA’s objectives, then discussing their hope for a diverse membership, and leaving some time for questions posted in the chat from some of the 120-plus attendees.
Membership is open to individuals, private companies and other organizations that provided crowd management and public safety services at a range of levels. The four categories of members are corporate, associate, individual and affiliate. The latter covers anyone with an “active interest in crowd management.” Annual dues range from £100 (CAD $170) to £500 (CAD $850)
The GCMA also just launched an online message board.
CLMA’s Erin Benjamin said they are hoping to have Stuart in Canada to conduct small classes on crowd management as soon as it is safe to do so.
Meanwhile, there are four webinars scheduled for 2022:
March 10 — How to Write an Honest Crowd Management Plan That Actually Works: What knowledge do we need? What makes it work in reality? The basics on how to build a living breathing document that works.
June 8 — Career vs. Stop-gap Recruitment & Retention: How do you get started in crowd management? What opportunities are there for continued professional development? How do we shape the next generation of crowd management professionals?
Sept. 14 — The Collaborative Approach to Crowd Safety, Planning and Management: A case study analysis on how and why including regulators and stakeholders in planning works. We explore the idea of public/private coordination.
Dec. 7 — Enforcement or Interpretation? Sports Stadia and Beyond: How do we interpret rules to elicit the behaviour we want from our guests? A discussion on making good decisions when the energy is high.