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It’s never too early to start thinking about any and all aspects of safety at your events! While COVID-19 guidelines are on everyone's mind, let's not forget one of the most important safety plans you need to have in place when hosting a festival, fair, or any kind of outdoor gathering - your Event Weather Protocols.

While you might think that the current 10-Day Forecast on your go to weather site or phone app is sufficient - it’s not. This could be a deadly way to keep track of impending weather systems when you are responsible for the safety of every individual attending your event. Below are 6 critical tips you should implement to tighten up your events weather safety standards:


Give yourself and your staff as many tools as possible to paint the most accurate picture for current and forecasted weather conditions.

  • Enable the services of a professional meteorologist as a contractor dedicated to you during the operating times of your event. You'll need to be planning or using their services before gates or camping opens as well to keep your operations, contractors and setup staff safe and informed! If you are having trouble finding a dedicated meteorologist, try chatting with your local news channel or other media partners to lend a hand.

  • Download a reliable and robust weather app for your phone; including one with a specific lightning tracker such as Weather Bug. Although a professionals take can help read radars much more accurately and predict wind speeds and how fast a storm may approach, among many other things, there are a lot of great resources available at your fingertips that can keep you generally informed.

  • Place a temporary weather station at your event site in an area that will give the best measurements for key indicators such as wind speed; it can notify you via an alarm when predetermined thresholds are surpassed.

  • Enlist the help of local weather spotters several miles away in all directions from your event site to let you know what is coming before you can see it. If you know a storm is coming from the south through another town, call a contact in that town and they can give you some further details on what to expect and plan for. If needed and you have the time (and of course, if it's safe to do so), have someone drive out in the direction of the storm for some insight as well.

  • Keep a weather log on what the conditions were during your event setup, execution, and tear down; and what any outcomes were. This could be very important to have on file if a serious incident were to happen.


There is no point in gathering weather data if you are not going to act on it! Create a table of what your threats are such as wind, rain, hail and lighting, and correlate an appropriate action response to each of those threats for all areas of your event site such as your stage, viewing areas, beer gardens, tradeshows, vendor areas and campsites. How fast are the wind gusts and what should you get prepared to do as they increase? How far away and when was the last lightning strike; when does the show need to be postponed? These tables/charts should be very detailed but very straightforward to follow.


Once your plan is set into action it is time to get the word out and notify all appropriate stakeholders from staff to vendors, volunteers, artists, sponsors, attendees, venues and more.

  • Decide the flow of information and what the main message is going to be. Do not try and sugar coat things; keep the wording precise and to the point.

  • Start with your Initial Contact Team and ensure they pass the message down to their direct managers and staff (front and back of house).

  • Decide how are you going to get the messaging out to your audience attending your event. This should be done in many layers to make sure it reaches as many people as possible. Will it be public address announcements, will it be social media, will it be apps, will it depend on wifi or cell service, what if there is a failure of electricity?

  • Know what tools you have available and will use for sending out messaging, and have those messages prepared in advance. You shouldn't need to scramble to create a graphic for social media or the video screens to evacuate the area (or whatever your message may be). 


Depending on what the weather threat is and the messaging being deployed, your entire event or a portion of your grounds may need to be evacuated. Your evacuation plan is going to need to be precise enough to be executed flawlessly and be dynamic enough to account for various scenarios. Think about:

  • Where are you sending your audience to? Can the nearby tents/buildings hold everyone, or is it safe to hold people during inclement weather?

  • Where are you sending your front and back of house workers to? Have you briefed everyone on what happens in the case of an emergency and who/what they are responsible for?

  • Do you have clearly marked muster points and who is taking a head count or being responsible for the crowd gathered there?

  • You may need to suspend alcohol sales in a venue to allow minors and more people than the capacity allows in.

  • You should also suspend food sales and anything that can cause lineups that interfere with the flow of traffic during an emergency evacuation.

  • Some of your staff may be handling a lot of money or goods - you need to have a plan for that as well! Safety of your people should always come first.


You may think that you can easily evacuate to an existing venue or building on site, but you could be wrong depending on the severity of an impending weather threat. During a hail storm or heavy rain storm, peoples first instinct will be to run under the nearest tent or structure - but if it is not rated for what you are getting hit with it could create much more severe injuries if it were to collapse.

  • Do you know the capacity of each of your venues (permanent or temporary) on site should you need to shelter in place?

  • Has your audience been briefed on where these venues exist?

  • Is signage clearly visible marking venues as storm shelters?

  • Are these venues engineered to withstand all types of weather threats? At what point is it unsafe to have crowds in there?

  • Do you have plans with your security teams to direct people to the shelters, while still keeping anything of value in there safe?


Send out test messages to your staff and attendees through your various communication channels so they can see what to expect. (But be sure to label them as a test!) Test your flow of emergency messaging to source out any communication issues or gaps that need filling before it is too late!

Following these 6 protocols should have you prepared well in advance to deal with one of the most unpredictable and unforgiving elements of live outdoor event production. All of these are great to have written down as part of an overall Emergency Response Plan

Download this FREE 'Event Safety Tips' eBook for some more great info from the Trixstar Academy!

Contact Chris Melnychuk (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) today if you'd like to conduct an Emergency Response Plan Consultation with event experts from our team which includes a full day workshop, site measurements, traffic flow diagrams, calculations and more! 


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