Aug 2011 Mojo Barriers debut configuration at Reading and Leeds Festivals

Mojo Barriers at Reading Festival August 2011 (2)Mojo Barriers introduced new barrier configurations to this year’s Reading and Leeds Festivals from 26th – 29th August.

Mojo Barriers worked closely with organisers Festival Republic to develop a bespoke front of main stage barrier design, incorporating BLMS (Barrier Load Monitor Systems), and NME/Radio 1 stage barrier designs. The new designs were suitable for both the Reading and Leeds sites.

A total of 1,100m of stage barrier was supplied to each festival, which included Mojo’s line-up gate system for the silent disco.

Mojo’s BLMS detects and records pressure applied by the crowd throughout the event with its unique pressure sensors. It was first used five years ago at Reading and Leeds and includes CCTV monitoring and personal observation by production and security professionals to monitor crowd dynamics.

As a result of previous years’ results analysis, Mojo installed one of its trademark thrust systems into the main arena as a primary stage barrier, a first for the Leeds and Reading Festival. This was complemented by an extended secondary double line system.

The Radio 1 / NME stage also had a new design, a double line barrier that incorporated the front-of-house position and tent support legs. With the huge new tent capacity of 20,000 this prevented any risk of illegal access to the tent poles, provided a safe environment for the audience, while giving working personnel greatly improved access.

Jim Gaffney, UK Director at Mojo Barriers, explains:

“We are always looking for ways to make improvements to deliver the safest festival environment which offers best possible experience for the audience, which is very important to the organisers.

“Extensive planning and consistent liaison with Melvin Benn and Luke Cowdell at Festival Republic enabled us to develop these completely new barrier designs to minimise the impact of the crowd surging , in particular lateral (or sideways movement) and audience collapses.

“The thrust in the centre was introduced primarily to counteract the lateral movements that had been observed, in particular at Leeds Festival. It’s the first time this configuration has been used at these festivals and we have received positive feedback from the security company in the pit, along with the organisers, on its effectiveness of reducing sideways surges. It completely stopped any audience collapses and gave all working personnel far greater access to the audience than previous years.

“With the extended secondary system behind it, we have definitely created a safer event without compromising enjoyment.”

This new layout was cleverly utilized by 30 Seconds to Mars, who built a ‘V’ shaped custom-made stage within the thrust in front of the stage while they performed, creating an intimate and closer audience experience.

Sep 2006 Mojo Barriers MD Patrick Jordan awarded an Honorary Doctorate

dr_jordanIt would be fair to say that the live music industry is taking a long time to achieve a national, let alone international, set of qualifications that can be held up by production professionals as globally recognized proof of competence.

Significant advances have been made over the past decade on several fronts, the PSA is working to introduce several initiatives and there are numerous courses now establishing themselves in different sectors. Going back over the past few years Total Production has reported how Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College (BCUC) has established itself as an academic centre of excellence, offering a wide range of courses for full-time and vocational students. 

Whilst hundreds of young graduates received their qualifications this September to begin their careers in the live entertainment industry, the college paid the largest possible tribute to the more mature figure of Patrick Jordan, MD of Mojo Barriers. He was awarded with an honorary doctorate in recognition for the significant contribution made to research into crowd safety at live events over recent years. 

Accepting his award (Dr) Patrick Jordan said:

“I’m very proud for everyone at Mojo and my family who have supported me over the years. It has been inspiring for Mojo Barriers to partner the team at BCUC and undertake meaningful research that will make a real difference to health & safety at live concerts and festivals. Whilst everyone in the (production) industry has a theory on the best way of doing things, I am looking forwards to continuing our research so that eventually there will be a bank of reference materials that will help site, tour and production managers to make informed decisions with some scientific data to guide them.” 

Professor Chris kemp, Dean of the Faculty for Leisure and Tourism at BCUC was introduced to Patrick (Jordan) by Mick Upton(founder of Showsec and pioneer of industry training) several years ago.

Chris (Kemp) told Total Production:

“Mojo Barriers has developed their Barrier Load Monitor System (BLMS) in 2004 to measure the pressures exerted on (Mojo aluminium) stage barriers and we started on the common ground of exploring how the BLMS system could be used as a research tool to improve safety at live events. “

“I was immediately impressed that Patrick prioritized improving safety at events over the simple commercial aspects of making money, and since those early exploratory discussions he has backed up that sentiment consistently by actions. Two very important facets Patrick has contributed towards the success of our research have been his honest commitment to everything we set out to do with patrick has moved off the paper and been done, and secondly, everything we worked on has been finalized to a meaningful conclusion. 

“This Honorary Doctorate recognizes the incredible level of his support to achieve effective academic studies to better understand crowd dynamics, and improve safety at events. The support and partnership we have developed with companies such as Mojo Barriers working at the ‘coalface’ of the events industry is very important for BCUC in developing relevant qualifications to prepare our students as best we can for the ‘real World’.” 

“Patrick has been invaluable in opening doors for us to key people in the music industry. We have taken measurements at over fifty festivals and concerts across Europe in conjunction with crowd studies for analysis through those connections. For example, Melvin Benn, Director f the Carling Reading and Leeds Festivals, has bent over backwards to help us in our aim to pinpoint anomalies at festivals to make them safer. We have worked with Mojo Barriers at both of Melvin’s events over the past two years to monitor the relationships of crowd behavior, pressures in front of the stage and the effects on the wellbeing of the fans. “

“I think that people had (and maybe still have) concerns that we are trying to over-sanitise concerts, which is definitely not the case. We want to identify elements that can be safer at concerts but we definitely don’t want to spoil the public having fun and take away the unique atmospheres generated at live events.”

“What has become glaringly evident through our research id that, more than any piece of equipment, good management systems are the key to safer concert environments in the areas of event management and crowd management.

“It is very difficult to identify exactly when an event is safe. The type of people working is paramount and the way an effective infrastructure is created, such as barriers, structures and temporary flooring. The barrier configuration is key and will only be successful if the festival has the right management to employ the right barrier design for the right situation.

“At BCUC we have recently developed a CAD CAM system that allows our research teams to input multiple variables to test barriers with different models, which helps people choose the right barrier configuration for their event.

“The BLMS has given us the ability to triangulate evidence with photos/video and questionnaires so that we have been able to start building a database of that happened at a set of concerts and festivals under a range of real conditions. This allows for intelligent predications for effective risk assessment of the pit barrier area and how it is managed. At Reading (festival) the safety officer was very thorough, and took his risk assessment and vigilance during the event down to the level of every individual working in and around that area, from security personnel to the BBC staff and even included our own researchers. 

“Our findings and conclusions to date after two years working with the BLMS will be published in time for the 2007 ILMC in London, and we are collaborating with event professionals in the ‘EUROPE Group’ to develop the delivery of improved health & safety to live events. 

“These are exciting times and we are looking towards the coming years. We are hoping to create an extension of the centre at BCUC by having a working BLMS system on-site, to help us research to effects of crowd pressures and crowd movement. 


Aug 2006 Mojo Barriers BLMS and new barrier design a success at Carling Leeds & Reading Festivals

carling06Pearl Jam, Muse, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, The Artic Monkeys and Primal Scream were among the highlights of a great weekend of music enjoyed by over 150,000 fans at the Carling Leeds and Reading Festivals.

Mojo Barriers supplied over 1000m of barrier across the two sites. Aluminium Mojo Barrier incorporating the Barrier Load Monitor System (BLMS) formed the main front of stage systems with the new secondary barrier system employed at both festival sites constructed from steel barrier, in the new configuration, located between the front of house mixer and stage.

Headliners Pearl Jam’s last festival tour in Europe was shattered by the tragic deaths of nine people during their Roskilde show. So their return to festival stages this year was accompanied by particularly close attention to heath and safety issues. 

This is an area Mean Fiddle’s festival director Melvin Benn has always managed carefully. He has developed both festival sites over the years and created a festival weekend with a unique atmosphere, with a good record for safety. Melvin said:

” we have always looked for ways to improve the sites, and in the past two years we have worked closely with Mojo Barriers and a team from Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College in conducting research with their Mojo BLMS system that measures the pressure exerted on the front of stage barriers. This has been pioneering research in monitoring the well being of our audiences. 

“When considering our festival barriers, I was very keen not to affect the great atmosphere we get in front of the stage and not create sterile pens or the segregated golden circle we see at some shows.

“The video of the crowd surge at a Manchester concert of Oasis last year influenced y thinking in preventing a surge from further back in the audience and I’m delighted with the way the barrier we designed has worked. It’s been self policing in terms of numbers and done exactly what I hoped.”

Patrick Jordan, Mojo Barriers MD said:

“Melvin was the first of the big promoters to invest in BLMS and he has taken a lot of time and effort to study how the pressure reading correlate to audience discomfort. Since starting our research at Leeds in 2004 we have installed BLMS into over 30 concerts and festivals across Europe. We are just starting to correlate pressures with factors such as bands, gradients and notably, barrier design. It is still early days for the research, but I think Melvin’s decision to look at different barrier configurations, leading to the one he created for Leeds and Reading, reflects his understanding of crowd dynamics and the importance of getting the barrier design right.”

Jim Gaffney led the team from Mojo Barriers UK office, who installed the barriers at Leeds and Reading, Jim said:

“It was quite a novel approach of Melvin’s, but I have to say it worked out very well. It seemed to help fans who wanted to see a particular band without getting surfed across or dragged into a ‘mosh pit’. They could now stand behind the secondary barrier, where it as less exuberant, to watch the bands from a great vantage point.”