Woodstock

Jerzy Owsiak responds to Minister Błaszczak

2017-06-16 15:17:19

Woodstock Festival Poland is a free-entry music and arts festival organised by the largest Polish charity, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. The festival is held annually in the vicinity of Kostrzyn nad Odrą, which is located near Polish-German border. Woodstock Festival Poland is financed by commercial sponsors of the event, voluntary donations, and the sale of official festival merchandise. 

The most important, and consequently, the largest part of the festival's budget is the security of the guests of the festival. In the 22-year history of the festival, our teams have developed a system which serves to ensure safety and well-being of the participants of the festival. Even though the laws governing the organisation and security of mass events have been changed, there are still no set guidelines for an event like Woodstock Festival Poland. That's why we work closely both with professional security services and appropriate uniformed services such as police and firefighting services in order to secure the area of the festival. We aim to comply with all requirements of the law on mass events in Poland and to, above all else, ensure the well-being of our guests. 

 

 

 

 

First of all, our festival is an open event. In more senses than the fact that there are no tickets. Due to this fact, we are unable to precisely pinpoint a number of participants present in the festival field. What is more, the event is open in the sense, that we co-create the festival with its participants, which is the basis of its peaceful and friendly character. We work on building an open channel of communication with our audience. I am, personally present on the Main Stage and am able to communicate with the people present at the event. We value their trust and they, in turn, respect the team behind the festival. 

This year, in our application to hold a mass event, addressed to the authorities we have stipulated that we are going to map out four areas of mass events (as stated in the act regulating the organisation of mass events in Poland). These four areas will be closely monitored and we will be able to control the number of people present there at all times. Each of these designated areas will be fenced in order to separate it from the fire escape routes, roads, and campsites located on the festival grounds. By fencing the area we are able to calculate the estimated number of participants of each event and engage the appropriate (stated in the act) number of security personnel and staff. As per this act, we should engage exactly 918 people. 

However, just like a year ago, we decided to engage double the number of staff than stated in the act. There will be 1526 people - stewards and security involved in the festival. We will also engage a medical team consisting of 300 medics (first aid rescuers, nurses) and 20 doctors. What is more, we will receive reinforcement from the police, which will be sending 1570 police officers to work on the festival grounds. Based on our experience it is enough manpower to ensure that the festival runs smoothly. Let me emphasise - we are working closely with all appropriate services and as a result, there will be over 4000 people ensuring the safety of participants and guests of Woodstock Festival Poland. 

Our medical facilities at the festival are our pride and joy! First of all, there is our "field hospital" - three first aid points and eight first aid medical points located on the festival grounds. These facilities are staffed with 300 trained medical personnel: they are rescuers, nurses, qualified first responders. They will be working at the medical points and serve as a part of 28 first response teams patrolling the festival site. There are 20 experienced doctors working on the site as well. What is more, we have 7 special vehicles we use to transport casualties on difficult terrain, 2 specialised ambulances and 5 regular ambulances on the site of Woodstock Festival Poland. The hospital itself is equipped with state-of-the-art devices such as mobile x-ray machine, blood analyser, cardiac monitors, aspirators, blood vessel scanners, AEDs, ECGs, ventilator, resuscitation bed, and a chest compression system. One can venture a claim that some hospitals are not as well-equipped as our field medical facility. Our medical dispatchers make sure that our response teams are as effective and speedy as possible. The hospital is also in touch with the team at the Operations Room, which is responsible for coordination of units securing the site. Luckily, even though we have both medical staff and equipment ready, the overwhelming majority of cases treated at our hospital are minor injuries and traumas. It is worth mentioning that our medical teams are all volunteers, working to ensure that people attending the festival receive medical care. Moreover, the hospital is equipped by medical companies, providing both devices and medicines free of charge.  We have estimated that running a medical facility such as our "field hospital" would cost over 4 million PLN. 

This year we are unveiling vending machines, where the festival-goers will be able to purchase basic items such as painkillers, insect repellents, band-aids and bandages. 

 

 

 

Another feature of the festival which is worth mentioning in the context of security and safety of its participants is our team at the Operations Room. The team in the Operations Room consists of representatives of the organiser, police, firefighting services, and a medical dispatcher. We are in touch with border patrol officers, German authorities and German voluntary organisations, which have been present at Woodstock Festival Poland in the previous years (IRT & JFV Frankfurt (Oder). What is more, we are also in contact with the State Sanitary Inspectors and train security services, so that we are able to receive and process all information relevant to the well-being of guests of our festival. We use radio communication, GIS mapping system and GPS trackers. In order to create the most exact maps, we rely on the team working at Esri Polska company. Consequently, we are able to send a team to the location of an incident. The margin of error, in this case, is 30 centimetres! The team at the Operations Room is able to fully coordinate the work of all services involved in running the festival precisely and effectively responding to all possible incidents and emergencies as they occur. 

 

 

Yet another important aspect of the organisation at Woodstock Festival Poland is our team of festival stewards and information staff, consisting of the members of Peace Patrol volunteers. Members of the Peace Patrol are adults, who have completed first aid course and have been trained on the basis of mass events management and health and safety regulations. The course, which takes 3 days takes place in our training facility in Szadowo-Młyn focuses on first aid training, health and safety at a mass event, and team-building activities. In the last 15 years, over 10 thousand people have completed the course. It is worth mentioning that it is the most detailed course available for members of steward staff! Apart from learning vital skills, such as CPR, the members of the Peace Patrol learn how to work as a team and we, in turn, get to know each of them personally. 

 

Furthermore, we aim to secure other sites, not just the festival field and campsite. We make sure that there are teams of stewards and medics present on the local train station, for example. 

 

I need to emphasise the fact that we are very proud of our cooperation with the authorities. We work very closely with police forces and firefighting units, which provide the team of 9 fire engines, with 2 teams of firefighters coming from Germany in order to support our work at the festival site. 

To conclude, I would like to cite just one example of the attitude of the participants of the festival. The festival goers are involved in blood donation drive, which takes place on the festival field. In order to donate blood, one has to be clean - sober and rested. Each year people come in thousands to donate blood. This just proves the fact how socially conscious and responsible the members of our audience truly are! 

As of today, the staff responsible for running the festival is liaising with all appropriate authorities and the work at organising the festival is well under way. We are slowly - carefully and surely -  putting together all pieces of this impressive puzzle.

 

There only one thing left to say - we would like to cordially invite Minister Błaszczak to experience the festival this year! 

 

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