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Coventry University researcher launches pioneering study into live music event safety


Coventry University researcher launches pioneering study into live music event safety

A PhD researcher from Coventry University has embarked on a groundbreaking study that seeks to fill a significant gap in research within security and events and ultimately aims to make the live music industry a safer environment.

KT Sonnen, who has almost two decades experience in the security sector, already has a number of independent venues and festivals signed up to take part in the research which she hopes will provide actionable insights for the live music industry.

She said: “The research is exciting for me personally but it’s also exciting for the industry to have a crossover between what we’re doing operationally and being able to provide the academic back-up as well. 

“Hopefully we’ll be able to take some of the lessons learned from the results and translate that into actionable best practice to ensure the attendees and workers are feeling as safe as possible during events. It will also provide a time-stamped benchmark of where the events industry is as a whole right now and will give future research something to build on.” 

Despite live music contributing millions to the economy, KT found that it is a very under-researched area especially within security and terrorism studies. Her main research topics focus on are people at large music events as safe as they think they are and are these concerns consistent across genre, size and type of event? Additional questions look at expectation of security measure deployment and whether security knowledge/experience is a significant factor.

KT said: “It’s really nice to be able to contribute to the industry that I have worked in since 2007 as it has given me so much. I hope that the results I get will give an insight into not only how we can enhance safety measures, but how to improve attendee retention and improve employee satisfaction.” 

This study’s design is unique in a number of ways as it will gather the opinions of workers (both security and non-security roles) as well as attendees, involve contacting attendees well in advance of the event and collecting ground-level data at the time, rather than relying on memory and/or police records.

KT studies at the university’s Research Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations. She is also a member of the UK Crowd Management Association (UKCMA) and the Global Crowd Management Alliance (GCMA) and was an editor on the recently released “Safer Crowds Safer Venues: Good Practice for Crowd Management in UK Performance and Licensed Spaces”

The study welcomes a diverse range of music events that meet specific criteria, including being located in England, a capacity of 800 or more and a focus on music as the main attraction. Events of all genres, sizes and settings are encouraged to participate.

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