Surveillance makes music festival safe

August 2003 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

Organisers of this year’s Glastonbury music festival in Somerset, UK, turned to the power of CCTV technology to ensure the safest festival environment yet.

Residents of the picturesque village of Pilton, situated two miles from the festival's massive eight field site, demanded extra security to protect them against any potential vengeance of gatecrashers who were unable to break through the £1m `Super Fence'.

Don Wetherell, managing director of security installers Special Events Communications takes up the story: "With literally thousands of unpaying visitors breaking under or over the wall in 2000, Glastonbury Festivals Ltd was in serious breach of its Public Entertainment Licence, making massive investment in a more secure fence inevitable for the 2002 event. While the new 'Super Fence' kept unwanted visitors outside the festival perimeter, however, it also meant that Pilton became a victim of crime, perpetrated by frustrated festival goers thwarted by the wall."

In the lead up to the 2003 event, several measures were taken to defend the village, including a combination of private security companies, static 'road block' guards, mobile patrols, mobile CCTV units, CCTV and a heightened police presence.

The solution

Special Events Communications was selected to design and install a system where high quality images could be recorded for evidential purposes, and monitored and controlled from the on-site festival control room - a large tent in a farmer's field.

With no public underground service in Pilton and undulating terrain, there was no line-of-site for radio transmission. The only option to transmit camera images back to the tent, therefore, was via ISDN lines.

Due to the distances involved, six mini independent CCTV systems were created comprising of six Dedicated Micros DS2 digital multiplexers, 10 dome cameras, six ISDN lines and 10 Imigix video transmission units. Ten cameras were installed overlooking private houses and businesses such as the village post office, shop and pub.

Four control points were used to dial into the system. Camera domes were controlled remotely using transparent data to zoom in and out and adjust direction while pictures were replayed remotely using the DS2 multiplexer menu.

Wetherell added: "As the system obviously only had a very short but very crucial finite life span, it was critical that we specified the most reliable equipment on the market. With very straightforward operating procedures and user-friendly features such as instant playback, you can literally hit the ground running with a DS2 digital multiplex recorder. And with its high quality digital images, it has given the people of Pilton peace of mind again."

Special Events Communications also used a mobile CCTV van, fitted with a nine-channel DS2 mounted on its two masts where a PTZ colour/mono camera and a thermal image camera for tracking criminal activity at night in crime hot spots such as car parks.

The result

When rumours that more than 100 people were planning to literally storm the wall to enter the festival began to circulate, the police recruited the mobile van to help keep a watchful eye on the predicted point of entry from a hidden location. Observing from 700 m away, they could see all pedestrian and vehicle traffic and give accurate intelligence back to control of what was happening.

Phil Appleton, Village Manager and former police inspector commented: "2003 has gone down as one of the best Glastonbury's ever - thanks in no small part to the improved security measures both on site and in Pilton. We are confident that with all the security precautions now in place, the festival will keep going from strength to strength."

For more information contact RGB Technologies, 011 760 6437, or VisionLine, 011 538 7000.





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