Please welcome our newest members who joined IAVM in November and December—a total of 212 new members, with 183 members joining in December. Our network of professionals is growing and we are reaching record numbers. Thank you for being a part of the association!
The Academy for Venue Safety & Security (AVSS) will take place February 23-27 in Dallas, and it offers professionals in the venue industry intensive training in security planning and life safety management. We recently spoke with Russ Simons—chief listening officer and managing partner at Venue Solutions Group—a safety and security expert and former teacher at the academy to learn more about the training and why it’s important for your career in the industry.
When it comes to venue safety, do venue managers need AVSS even if their venue already has a preparedness plan in place?
Venue managers absolutely need to continue take advantage of AVSS. Venue safety, security, and risk management is not static. It is a constantly evolving environment with rapidly changing conditions. There are several benefits, which include a comprehensive understanding of what has happened before and how to look forward to identify and prepare for what is coming next. In addition, the benefit of the network of AVSS instructors and attendees create a vehicle to get information and support going forward.
What is the most surprising thing you see venues doing or not doing when it comes to keeping guests safe?
Complacency! In today’s world, I cannot understand how facility managers and organizations can justify becoming complacent in the areas of venue safety, security, and risk management. The concept of “it cannot happen to me” has a tendency to creep into an organization’s culture. To put this into a sports perspective, we need to play like we are behind, play scared, and prepare every day as if it will happen. There is a direct benefit to this kind of thinking—when you prepare in this manner, then you and your staff will be prepared for anything that occurs.
What AVSS curriculum segment is your specialty?
I no longer teach at AVSS regularly. When I return from time to time, I focus on bringing it all together. This would be a very direct presentation on how what the class has learned represents the challenges that their counterparts in the venue industry face every day. In addition, when I can I like to focus on codes. A great many people in our industry are not aware of their code responsibilities and how important it is to manage and operate within the rules and obligations that are set out in national, state, and local regulations.
What does your venue team use every day that comes directly from your AVSS experience?
I no longer manage a facility on a day-to-day basis; however, I work in a different facility type most every day. This gives me great perspective on what the different facilities do. I can say without reservation that the information and experience gained at AVSS is important for every facility type and is useful every day.
What is one of your most interesting stories or incidents from your venue experience that is safety related, and how did you handle it?
Fortunately or unfortunately, I have had almost every bad thing happen to me as a facility manager. In an effort to offer something helpful, I learned early on that when someone is hurt and injured the natural human reaction is for people to gather around and look. I had a stagehand fall while the lights were still up in full view of the crowd. In an effort to protect the individual, I created a staff cordon around the injured individual facing outward. I was in a facility recently where a person was injured on a public concourse during an event, and there were several“well intentioned” staff members responding but no one took control, managed the concourse traffic flow around the incident, or protected the view to the inured party. This is something that can be emphasized in supervisor and staff training.
Register today for AVSS, and learn from some of the best safety and security experts, like Russ, in the venue industry.
The GreenBiz Group recently released its listing of the top 10 cities for green meetings in 2014. Let’s take a look the top five and which venues were highlighted.
“In January, Denver’s Colorado Convention Center led the charge when it earned Level One certification for a meeting facility. This requires, among other measures, a written environmental policy; a minimum waste diversion rate of 30 percent over the course of a year (the center diverts 57 percent annually) or 45 percent for a particular event; and at least 20 percent of building fixtures operating at high efficiency.”
2. Las Vegas
“…the Sands Expo and Congress Center at The Venetian and The Palazzo became the first and only in the world to garner next-tier Level Two ASTM/APEX certification. The LEED Gold Sands and Venetian and LEED Silver Palazzo laid down the sustainability gauntlet in 2011, when the Sands 360° Meetings Program—a holistic approach to providing environmentally sound choices for events—was launched.”
“Thanks to ambitious environmental initiatives, [McCormick Place] has already reduced energy consumption by 1.6 million kWh and increased its annual waste-diversion rate by 10 percent over the past few years.”
“…Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center is the second-largest venue with ASTM/APEX certification. In addition to LED lighting and HVAC systems, environmental measures at the LEED Gold venue include Green Seal-certified cleaning products, irrigation systems that rely on reclaimed water, and a solar PV system.”
5. Portland (home to this year’s VenueConnect!)
“The city’s Oregon Convention Center, which was the first to nab LEED certification for existing buildings back in 2004, also announced last April that it would be investing funds to boost its LEED status from Silver to Gold.”
Before the Black Crowes can play in Busch Stadium, before Muse performs in Manchester Arena, before Radiohead strikes a chord in the Riverbend Music Center, they all make their way through small venues. To help celebrate the role these places play in the lives of performers, 18 small venues around the U.K. will participate in Independent Venue Week, Jan. 28 – Feb. 2.
“Independent venues sit at the heart of their local community, providing a vital lifeline to upcoming artists early in their careers whilst bringing together those fans who are passionate about live music,” the organization’s website said. “With more and more small to medium sized venues continuing to close around the country, Independent Venue Week supports those venues that play such a significant role to musicians and fans alike. We want to celebrate the venues, and the people that run them, that have played host to some of the biggest names in music when they were no better known than the bands that are playing there now.”
Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood is the initiative’s official ambassador.
“I’m proud to be involved in the celebration and promotion of local gigs, which gave us some of the best times in our musical life—The Joiners, King Tuts, Jericho Oxford—just to name three brilliant venues that are still putting on top shows today,” he said. “They’re all crucial for the musical development of the U.K., because they provide local artists with places to hone their show skills and a window to other musical worlds when a tour hits town.”
Visit the Independent Venue Week website for more information and to buy tickets. And if you’re not in the U.K., consider seeing a show at a small venue. You may just see the next superstar starting out.
The Performing Arts Managers Conference (PAMC) is quickly approaching, and this year it takes place in Kansas City, Mo. You may not know this—and I didn’t until yesterday—that Kansas City is home to a flourishing playwright scene.
“Much of the activity is coming from small theater companies—the Fishtank Performance Studio, the Living Room and the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre—but the annual KC Fringe Festival has also become an incubator for playwrights,” Robert Trussell wrote for The Kansas City Star. “In addition, new theater groups have popped up, including Play On Productions and Melting Pot KC, with the goal of staging original work by Kansas City writers.”
This is not the first time Kansas City has experienced a creative surge.
“There is a precedent for such an explosion of creativity here: the jazz era,” Trussell wrote. “In the 1920s and ’30s, musicians from across the country gathered here. They formed bands or joined orchestras. Some of them thought they were just passing through but stayed. They knew each other. They played together and listened to one another’s music. And they absorbed musical ideas in a melting pot of styles. Now we’re seeing something like that in the theater community.”
I like that line: “They played together and listened to one another’s music.” That’s similar to a conference. You attend so that you can listen, learn, and interact with one another. For PAMC, it’s not just another conference, it’s a community.