Safety Laws That Work Safety Laws that Work

Introduction

One reason rock fans around the world continue to suffer needless injuries and deaths is that too many communities lack proper safety laws to protect fans from reckless concert and festival environments. A second reason is that the rock concert industry in most countries works against the establishment of safety regulations or standards.

There is good news. Communities, fans and government organizations have begun to take substantive steps to make concerts safer. Moreover, many more would do likewise, if they knew where to start.

Safety Laws That Work is a showplace for laws and resolutions from around the world that make concert and festival events safer and thus, more fun. Safety Laws That Work is designed to display realistic laws and standards that communities can adopt or modify.

Some of the examples reproduced here have been in use for nearly two decades. All of the laws perform their tasks effectively. None of them has put any legitimate promoter, venue, or security firm out of business.

The first laws to be presented here are from Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. We did not choose Cincinnati because it is ground zero for US rock concert tragedies. Rather, we picked it because of the invaluable contributions city government and local residents have made to concert safety and to improving the treatment of rock fans.

In the future, we will add other legislative examples from around the world. We plan to add a new piece of legislation once a month. (As always, we enjoy hearing your recommendations and comments. E-mail your recommendations for Safety Laws that Work to laws@crowdsafe.com.)


Cincinnati, Ohio USA Festival Seating or General Admission Prohibition; Exemptions

This law, prohibiting the sale of "festival seating" and "general admission seating" (that is, standing room only spaces at indoor music concerts and other events), was the direct result of the December 3, 1979 Who concert tragedy that killed 11 concertgoers. Festival seating was considered the domino that set in motion the worst concert tragedy in U.S. history. Cincinnati City Council passed this law 24 days later.

Cincinnati City safety officials had periodically complained about festival seating concerts to City Council prior to December 3, asking for changes. Representatives of the local promoter and of Riverfront Coliseum (now know as The Crown) countered that police and fire officials did not understand rock concerts or their audiences.

Note: Numerous US communities have used this ordinance as a model for their legislative actions.

City of Cincinnati P.W.M.
An Ordinance No. 582 -1979

Prohibiting unassigned seating for events at theaters, arenas, operas and other places of assembly in the City of Cincinnati and providing for specific exemptions to the prohibition by ordaining sections 865-29 and 865-99-E and amending Sections 865-27 of the Municipal Code of the City of Cincinnati.

BE IT ORDAINED by the Council of the City of Cincinnati, state of Ohio:

Section 1. That Section 865-29 of the Cincinnati Municipal Code is hereby ordained to read as follows:

Sec. 865-29. Festival Seating or General Admission Prohibited; Exemptions.

Festival or general admission seating wherein persons are admitted without assigning them a particular reserved seat, is hereby prohibited in all theaters, arenas, operas, concert halls and other places of assembly When the seating capacity of the facility is 2,000 or more; provided that this section shall not apply to high school and college athletic events, including club sponsored athletic events; nor to religious events sponsored by bona fide religious organizations; nor to events where the sponsor has applied for and received a specific exemption from the safety director. In determining whether the event shall be exempt from the prohibition on general admission or festival seating, the safety director shall consider the following factors: the facility where the event is scheduled; the size, age and anticipated conduct of the crowd; the ability of the applicant to manage and control the expected attendance; and the hazards to the health, safety and Welfare of participants, spectators, and the community associated With exempting this particular event from the prohibition contained in this section. Applications for exemptions shall be filed With the safety director at least 30 days prior to the date of the event.

Section 2. That Section 865-27 of the Cincinnati Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Sec. 865-27. License Revocation.

In the event any theatre, moving picture theatre, drive- in theatre, penny arcade, concert hail, or other place of amusement, entertainment or exhibition Which has heretofore been licensed or Which may hereafter be licensed fails to comply with the provisions of Sections 865-23x **1** 865-25 and 865-29 of this chapter, the city manager or his designee shall revoke such license, if, after **2** 10 days following the receipt of the written notice of violations the licensee fails to correct the violations involved. Upon revocation of the license, the licensee shall cease operation of the theatre, moving picture theatre, drive-in theatre, penny arcade, concert hail, or other place of amusement, entertainment or exhibition. The revocation of the license shall not affect any of the other penalty provisions provided for in this chapter.

Section 3. That section 865-99-E, Violation of Section 865-29, shall be ordained to read as follows:

Sec. 865-99-E. violation of section 865-29.

Whoever violates section 865-29 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by six months imprisonment or a fine not to exceed 51,000.

Section 4. That existing section 865-27 of the Cincinnati Municipal Code is hereby repealed.

Section 5. This ordinance is hereby declared to be an emergency measure necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety and shall go into effect forthwith. The reason for the emergency is the immediate necessity of preventing risk of life or injury to persons attending events in the City of Cincinnati.

Passed December 27 A.D., 1979


Emergency On-the-Scene Authority of Police Officer in Charge

Besides festival seating, the Who concert tragedy was also blamed on, among other things, a lack of open entrance doors, the failure to open sufficient doors when crowd problems began, and astonishingly, the refusal of venue staff and the promoter to cooperate fully with police officials as the tragedy began to unfold.

The Cincinnati police concert detail had long complained that facility operators and promoters had made their job more difficult at rock concert events. Following the Who concert tragedy, City Council was ready to act. It passed this ordinance requiring public advertisement of door opening 48 hours in advance of a concert. The new law also required that venue doors be open two hours ahead of an event. Furthermore, it underscored the authority of police to take whatever actions necessary to protect the public.

City of Cincinnati P.W.M.
An Ordinance No. 583 -1979

Ordaining Sections 865-31 and 865-99-F of the Municipal code of the City of Cincinnati to clarify the emergency on-the-scene authority of the Safety Department to order the placement or removal of barriers, the opening or closing of doors, or other crowd control measures at places of assembly when the size, manner, nature and/or conduct of the crowd requires such action to avoid risk of danger or injury to persons or property.

BE IT ORDAINED by the Council of the City of Cincinnati, state of Ohio;

Section I. That Section 865-31 of the Cincinnati Municipal Code is hereby ordained to read as follows:

Sec. 865-31. Emergency On-the-Scene Authority of Police Officer in charge.

At all theaters, arenas, concert halls and all other places of assembly when the seating capacity of the facility is 2000 or more or the anticipated crowd is 3000 or more, the sponsor of the event shall publicize at least 48 hours prior to the event the time at which patrons may be permitted to enter the facility. In addition, the sponsor shall be prepared to open the doors at least two hours ahead of the scheduled opening if necessary to avoid risk of substantial danger or injury to persons or property.

For crowd control purposes inside or outside at theaters, arenas, concert halls and all other places of assembly, whether indoor or outdoor, the police officer in charge at the scene shall have authority to order the placement or removal of barriers, the opening or closing of doors or other entrances, the establishment of check points, or other crowd control measures whenever the size, manner, nature or conduct of the crowd in light of all other facts and circumstances at the time, including the number of' personnel on the scene to control and/or to accommodate the crowd indicate that the risk of substantial danger or injury to persons or property warrants such action.

Nothing in this section shall be construed in any way to lessen in any fashion the liability of those responsible for the management and. operation of the event including the employment of adequate personnel for security, safety, health and sanitation.

Section 2. That Section 865-99-F shall be ordained to read as follows:

Sec. 865-99-F. violation of Section 865-31.

Whoever fails to publicize the time for opening the doors as required in Section 865-31 or to open the doors at the scheduled time, or to comply with an order of the police officer in charge pursuant to Section 865-31 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by six-months imprisonment or a fine not to exceed $1,000.

Section 3. This ordinance is hereby declared to be an emergency measure necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety and it shall go into effect forthwith. The reason for the emergency is the necessity of preventing risk of life or injury to persons attending events in the City of Cincinnati.


Selling of Tickets Over Capacity of Places of Assembly

Questions were raised about the actual crowd capacity at Riverfront Coliseum the night of the Who tragedy. Cincinnati Fire Department officials had frequently complained about what they perceived as over crowding problems at the venue. The promoter strongly contested charges of over selling. Determining who was right was an impossible task because of the frequent use of festival seating. Both parties knew that festival seating crowds were literally impossible to count.

Cincinnati City Council passed this ordinance to make it illegal to sell or give away tickets over the legal capacity of a public event.

City of Cincinnati W.M.P.
An Ordinance No. 66 - 1980

Prohibiting the sale of tickets for all events in all theaters, arenas, operas, concert halls and other places of assembly over the capacity of said places of assembly as provided by law by ordaining section 865-33 and by amending section 865-99-E of the Municipal Code of the City of Cincinnati.

BE IT ORDAINED by the Council of the City of Cincinnati, State of Ohio:

Section I. That section 865-33 of the Cincinnati Municipal

Code is hereby ordained to read as follows:

Sec. 865-33, Selling of Tickets Over Capacity of Places of Assembly.

It shall be unlawful to sell, give away or in any other way disseminate tickets to all theaters, arenas, operas, concert halls and other places of assembly over the maximum capacity of said theater, arena, opera, concert hall or other place of assembly, Which capacity is determined in accordance with the provisions of section 1201-3 of the Cincinnati Fire Prevention Code.

Section 2. That section 865-99-E of the Cincinnati Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Sec. 865-99-E. Violation of section 865-29 and Section 865-33.

Whoever violates Section 865-29 or Section 865-33 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by six months im- prisonment or a fine not to exceed $ 1,000.

Section 3. That existing section 865-99-E of the Cincinnati Municipal Code is hereby repealed.

Section 4. This ordinance is hereby declared to be an emergency measure necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety and shall go into effect forthwith. The reason for the emergency is the immediate necessity of preventing risk of life or injury to persons attending events in the City of Cincinnati.

Passed February 27 A.D., 1980





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