Event Management

8 Ways to Manage Big Crowds at Large Events

August 7, 2023

Community Outreach Manager at OnePlan Events

Managing large crowds at events can feel like herding cats, a daunting task that often leaves organizers overwhelmed; the very nature of crowds poses significant risks, especially since they can be difficult to control. Effective crowd control is essential for safety and pivotal for the overall success of any event, big or small, ensuring every attendee has an enjoyable experience while maintaining order and security. In this article, we discuss 8 ways to effectively manage large crowds. 

1. Know your audience 

A thorough understanding of your audience forms the bedrock of successful crowd management. Gain insights into demographics, behavioral patterns, and potential risk factors tied to different groups. For example, hosting a rock concert isn’t the same as a public speaking event - it’s a completely different vibe with a different target audience.

Having more detailed attendee information helps design targeted strategies like how many event staff you need in each department. Furthermore, it shapes contingency plans that come in handy during emergencies and aids in avoiding common problems related to managing large crowds effectively. 

One tip to get a better idea of your audience is to have a registration form that collects the relevant information you need, like Talkbase’s custom registration forms.

2. Conduct a risk assessment of the location

Conducting a location risk assessment can involve evaluating the venue layout, crowd density, weather conditions, and access points. By conducting a thorough assessment, you can identify any potential safety issues and implement proactive measures to mitigate them.

By taking these proactive steps, you can ensure that proper measures are in place to minimize any potential risks or incidents during big events and maintain a safe environment for all participants.

3. Have an emergency plan laid out

Having an emergency preparedness plan goes hand-in-hand with the risk assessment. List all the possible accidents and emergencies that may occur, and determine how to solve each of them in case they happen. Think outside the box when brainstorming about what could go wrong - it’s better to have a plan for even the most unusual incidents than being empty-handed against an unplanned situation. Additionally, consider the personnel you need for each plan and practice drills that may lead to a better execution if needed.

4. Robust communication

Effective communication ensures that organizers, staff, and attendees are on the same page, leading to better coordination and a safer environment. It allows organizers to convey essential information to attendees, such as event schedules, emergency procedures, and safety guidelines. For example, if a climate phenomenon threatens the event, the organizers must ensure everybody is aware.

In case of an emergency, organizers must quickly inform attendees about evacuation procedures, safe zones, and any potential dangers. In tense situations or emergencies, panic can quickly spread through a crowd. Proper communication can help reassure attendees, providing accurate information and calming their fears. Communication channels during the event can sometimes be tricky, but consider the use of SMS text messages, or having signs that can be easily updated throughout, or even an intercom system. 

5. Calculate staff and personnel

Ensuring that you have the right number of staff is essential for successful crowd management during big events. A shortage of staff can lead to chaos and compromised safety, while having too many can result in inefficiency and increased costs.

To determine the appropriate number of staff needed for an event, it's critical to consider factors such as the size of the venue, expected attendance numbers, and the complexity of crowd dynamics.

6. Hire trained security personnel 

Having equipped individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to ensure the safety and security of attendees is crucial. Prioritize hiring trustworthy, attentive, and well-versed guards in security procedures, especially the ones who have had experience in this type of event. Also consider the use of emergency services like EMTs and paramedics who can help jump in during an emergency. 

7. Inform relevant parties 

Informing stakeholders such as local authorities, law enforcement agencies, and nearby businesses helps establish clear communication lines. By doing so, you can coordinate efforts and ensure a smooth crowd management process. If there are any restaurants nearby your event, you may want to let them know that a lot of people may come in, for example. Additionally, keeping these parties informed allows for better coordination of resources and services required for effective crowd management. 

8. Streamline the check-in process

Efficient check-in processes can significantly reduce queues and ensure a smooth experience for attendees at large events. One key technique is to optimize wayfinding, making navigating and finding their designated check-in areas easier. Clear signage, digital displays, and helpful staff can guide attendees efficiently, minimizing confusion and congestion. Additionally, queue management systems can be implemented to organize lines effectively and prevent bottlenecks. Leveraging technology like event CAD imports helps manage seating arrangements and zone divisions effectively. Additionally, using Talkbase’s ticketing and scanning feature can further help streamline checking tickets at the door.  


Successful crowd management during big events is essential for ensuring the safety and enjoyment of attendees. Considering these key strategies, you'll be well-equipped to handle crowd management challenges at any big event.

If you need more information about how to host the best events possible, and how to streamline the attendance process and registration, be sure to check out Talkbase.

Michael Kreitzer
Community Outreach Manager at OnePlan Events

August 7, 2023

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