Event Safety. Whose responsibility is it? Who is to be held accountable when things go wrong? With the recent tragedy in Oakland, a large awareness and spotlight has been placed on both of these questions. In the end, though, what role does each hand play?
Since this is an opinion piece, I will be basing the article on my own experience in organizing, performing at, and attending events. This experience includes throwing underground events in shady venues to hosting music nights in fully permitted clubs, bars, and banquet halls.
When working with a venue owner on an event, you expect there to be some sort of liability on their end to ensure the building is safe. You gain a bit of confidence and put your focus into deco, staging, lighting, marketing, and lineup. Safety concerns just don’t become a priority. It is evident that this is a huge mistake on our behalf. To anyone who has attended any of our past events, we apologize.
So, what are the venue owners responsible for? Well, without any contractual obligation…. Absolutely nothing. In most cases you are leasing the space as is. Anything you plan to do which may modify the intended use of the space becomes your responsibility.
This means as promoters and organizers, we must become our own fire marshals. We need to not only ensure that we are creating a magical experience for everyone involved, but also that it is a safe experience. What can you do to help?
Many of you who follow our blog are DJ’s, Artists, and Promoters yourselves. We urge everyone to become educated in event safety. Here are some tips to follow:
Ensure there are at least two exits (separate from the entrance). Ensure both exits are clearly marked and easy to find in the dark.
Examine the electrical work of the property. Ensure there are no exposed wires, submerged wiring, or an outdated main panel.
Check the structural integrity of the building. Are you organizing an event on an upper level which can support the weight of 300 party goers? Are their cracks or deterioration of ceiling joists?
Check the capacity limits of the event. DO NOT over sell.
Ensure that all fire extinguishers are in working order.
From our personal standpoint, Reformation was set to launch in March of 2017. In order to modify and adhere to more strict safety guidelines we had to cancel our current venue contract and seek a new property to host the event. This lead to the launch date being pushed back to August. We don’t see this as a hindrance, but instead as a chance to offer a better event to party goers and better protect those that support Bassline Syndicate in every capacity.
On to Oakland. We refuse to get into speculation. Instead we want to simply say how pained we are to see those that love the same music and scene that we do, pass. Our hearts and prayers are with their families and loved ones. We love and miss every single one of you.
We urge you to support the Oakland Fire Relief Fund below.