A tent city that accommodates more than 130,000 people in fields that are usually home to cows poses obvious wireless communications challenges. Those challenges are compounded when you take into account that those 130,000 are festival-goers out for a good time with all the attendant crowd control, security and organisational concerns that brings.
Radio communications are a critical tool for the organisers in keeping the site running effectively, ensuring the health and safety of the visitors and keeping them secure. 2CL Communications has worked with Glastonbury Festivals, the event’s organiser, for many years.
It first supplied the festival with a system in 1989, which consisted of 300 radios working over 16 channels. As the festival has grown and become more professionally organised, so has its radio communications requirements. The system now supplied consists of more than 2,000 hand-portable radios and accessories, 100 desktop base stations and site-wide infrastructure.
The current system works over 60 channels, which are supplied by JFMG, the frequency licensing agency, which 2CL works closely with to ensure there are no interference issues. The channels are split into 25 users groups and, depending on the user’s area of responsibility, are designated accordingly. Having this level of capacity and functionality has a significant impact on the event by connecting key people in key positions, especially as the event is now co-ordinated from one control room that has access to all the channels.
‘The level of service and understanding of our needs helps me to deliver a comprehensive communications solution that meets the need of the festival,’ explains Tony Daniel, communications manager at Glastonbury Festivals Ltd. ‘2CL takes away the hassle of frequency management for the event and have always delivered as promised.’
Stock control system
Over the course of 2CL’s work with the festival it has worked closely with the organisers, meeting them regularly to discuss changes and improvements that can be made. For example, for the past two years the festival has been employing, on 2CL’s recommendation, a stock control system that it uses in its own stores. The system was proposed to help reduce lost equipment and save the organisers money. As a result of implementing and installing this system, equipment losses have reduced year on year.
2CL was chosen as a supplier because of the knowledge and expertise it has within the events industry. It also supplies equipment and services to the London Marathon, Leeds and Reading festivals, Royal Ascot, Goodwood and the Farnborough Airshow.
The nature of supplying events is demanding, time-critical and often last minute. 2CL’s hire department specialises in providing tailored equipment for events and has a dedicated team that deals with clients from initial enquiry right through to project completion.
2CL engineers also support the festival organisers on-site at Glastonbury and are able to deal with any required system changes. The system has helped with event accessibility through better co-ordination to address traffic management and security. This improves the overall event experience for visitors and staff and will also prove beneficial if the festival continues to grow. Anyone who has spent six hours trying to get out of a car park at the festival will welcome that.