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Extreme weather is something promoters are having to worry more and more about. As the world heats up, the elements respond with fury. According to the BBC, a total of 28 countries experienced their warmest year on record in 2022. The United Kingdom was on that list.
But what happens when the overall temperature increases? Well, it makes heat waves not only more common but longer lasting too. Heatwaves can mean heatstroke, which in turn can create a whole host of potentially fatal issues.
Those issues can be personal, like heatstroke. But there’s also the risk of increased evaporation, leading to an increase in severe rain and storms.
And as we said earlier, the elements respond with fury, and promoters are feeling the effects. In 2019, Houghton Festival experienced heavy rainfall and worsening conditions overnight, leading to organisers cancelling the festival mid-weekend.
So, how can promoters plan for extreme weather this festival season? We won’t lie: it’s hard. You see, as floods and heatwaves become more common, organisers can no longer rely on past data. They have to plan for events they’ve never experienced before. That’s a tricky predicament to be in.
However, we’ve put our heads together and delivered five possible solutions to the problem. Some use technology, others are based in old-fashioned planning. We hope they help you.
Create a response plan
If an extreme weather event occurs, you’ll be much better equipped to deal with it if you have a plan.
But what will that include?
Firstly, you want to decide where the central command point will be. It could be the event control room if you have one. Ideally, you want somewhere that makes it easy to send and receive messages from staff.
Next, decide who will be in charge. This is crucial. When an emergency weather event occurs, you want everyone to keep calm and ensure the safety of people on site.
Consider how you will get people off the site. You’ll likely have lots of people at different stages, walking around the grounds or at the campsite.
You could have one person in charge of all proceedings, with response teams made up of staff members seeing to the different areas of your festival. Ensure that the lines of communication are clear and everyone is adhering to the plan.
Get your team on the same page
Once you’ve decided who’ll be in charge of the response operation, it’s time to inform your team.
As we mentioned earlier, you need cool heads. However, we understand: an extreme weather event isn’t named that for no reason.
Nerves and uncertainty are to be expected. But if you can give your team thorough training, they’ll have a better idea of what to expect in this scenario. Clarity leads to calm.
So, once you’ve drawn up your response plan, bring your staff together and inform them of what will happen in the event of an extreme weather event. Make it clear who they’ll be reporting to, whether they’ll need to be organised into response teams and the routes attendees will follow to exit safely.
Consider holding some training runs, too. This will help familiarise your team with the above, giving them a clearer understanding of how such a process will look in reality.
On-site meteorologists can help you stay ahead of mother nature.
They use data to analyse and predict any changes in the weather. But how can this help your event?
You could work with them before the event. Have them analyse the structures you plan to use, learning what threshold of rain, wind or heat would affect a particular stage.
Once you have this threshold, they can analyse the conditions on the day.
If you’re forecasted to exceed the wind threshold, for example, you can respond quickly and make the appropriate changes.
The Met Office offers this service alongside consultation services for outdoor events. So, you could ask them for guidance on best practices and use a meteorologist on the day. A consultant could help you understand how the ground will be affected by extreme weather, for example.
Understanding how weather impacts your event puts you in a better position to react.
Extreme weather makes it harder to use past data to predict potential hazards.
It makes sense. As weather hazards increase due to climate change, new challenges arise. After all, planning for something you’ve never experienced is tricky.
A Weather API could come in handy. It’s a technology-based solution, usually as software, that can provide accurate weather readings and scenarios up to a specific year.
Using scenarios is speculative, sure. However, they could shed some light on trends expected to arise over the years, giving you an idea of what to expect when it comes to extreme weather.
From there, you can assess the results and decide how to proceed. It might mean investing in sustainable solutions for water so you don’t run out in the event of a heatwave.
Using this type of solution could be pricey but worth it. It might not provide instant answers, but it could give you an idea of how to approach extreme weather in the long run.
Don’t forget hot weather
We’ve spoken mainly about wind, floods and rain in this article.
Hot weather isn’t a given in this country, but it can certainly strike. And when it’s hot, it’s hot.
Everyone loves being in the sun. Great weather, great people and great entertainment are a trio of endless excitement, but with it comes hazards that can’t be ignored.
Heatstroke and dehydration are just two hazards. However, in the past, extreme heat has led to forest fires in the U.K.
So, how can you mitigate these hazards?
Water is king here. You want to ensure that you’re providing accessible water fountains, keeping these areas from overcrowding. Alongside this, why not consider handing out reusable bottles? You could hand them out on-site or before the festival. It’s an easy way to ensure you aren’t using lots of plastic.
Elsewhere, evaporative coolers are a green and cost-effective solution for excessive heat. People can miss out on cool air when they’ve spent long hours in a festival tent. Hot weather only adds to that. You could create designated zones for these coolers, directing people to them when they need a breather.
Got a question you need an answer to? Give us a call on 03333010301 or ask us a question over on the Skiddle Promoter Twitter account by clicking or tapping on the button below. Alternatively, you can also find a list of our most frequently asked questions over at https://help.promotioncentre.co.uk/