What is a show stop procedure?

Event Organiser’s should have full Emergency Response Plans in place to deal with incidents of all kinds at any event. These plans should be stress tested and well-rehearsed, with all staff and volunteers engaged with the event ensuring their feasibility and effectiveness.

A well thought out Emergency Response Plan (ERP) will contain detailed instructions of how to deal with incidents such as:

  • Adverse weather (e.g. lightning strikes, high winds)
  • Security breaches
  • Crowd-safety incidents (e.g. crushing/stampede)
  • Structural deterioration (marquee/stage collapse)
  • Gas leaks, fires, and electrical failures
  • Terrorism or bomb threats

Your plan should include:

  • The provision of medical assistance and first aid administration
  • Control of traffic
  • Emergency response specific to the site
  • Summoning/meeting the Emergency Services
  • Informing the public and raising the alarms
  • Evacuation plans

In the majority of events, the ‘Show Stop Procedure’ can also form a fundamental part of the ERP. A show stop involves the rapid and controlled interruption of a performance in order to prevent risk to life of a tangible or intangible situation. Conducted properly, the Show Stop Procedure serves to minimise the Audience Pre-Movement Time which will ultimately improve the safety of those attending.

Emergency conditions at events can arise without warning and can present a situation which unless intervened, can result in major injuries or worse. As such, your Evacuation Plans and Show-Stop Procedures are key elements of your ERP.

Your Showstop plan should be simple yet effective, with clear roles and responsibilities.

Showstop should be initiated by competent persons well versed with events who can instantaneously distinguish between an emergency life threatening situation, or ‘normal’ audience behavioural patterns.

Communicating the right messages, to the right people, at the right time is key.

Effective communication, between performers representatives, safety coordinators, crowd managers, stage managers, tour security personnel, promoters reps and venue management will identify which person/people will be responsible for initiation of a showstop procedure and how this will be most effectively communicated this with performers and the audience.

How the message is communicated to the audience should be pre-arranged and documented. Key stakeholders should be fully briefed and rehearsed on the show stop procedure. A day of show safety meeting should run through the Show Stop procedure to ensure all parties are completely clear with what can determine a showstop, the actions to be taken and personnel involved.

As ever, with crowd safety measures, while planning is important, delivery is critical and can mean the difference between life or death in certain situations.

Using experienced professionals is not only recommended, for life safety, but also for your liberty.

Crowd Safety can help you with your planning for a safe and successful event and quick and effective evacuation in case of an emergency.

Steve Allen, Crowd Safety Lead Safety Consultant, is recognised as the Pioneer of the Show Stop procedure which is now used at a wide range of music and sporting events across the world.