Festival Assessment

The Performing Arts Readiness (PAR) project, supported by The Mellon Foundation, provides free emergency preparedness assessments for festivals and outdoor events featuring performing arts. At least five of these assessments are available between May 2023 and October 2025 at no cost to the recipient. These consultations are a part of the national PAR team’s work to raise awareness, increase resources, and provide training that addresses the unique needs of the performing arts community.

As part of this initiative, PAR consultants are available to conduct emergency preparedness assessments of festivals that cover topics including:

  • Life safety, health, and public welfare
  • Event waste reduction and management
  • Cultural placekeeping
  • Climate change resilience
  • Legal concerns and emergency plans
  • Mental and physical health first aid
  • Crowd management
  • Entertainment and emergency systems (waste, water, weather, power, interactive content/innovative audience communications to enhance safety)
  • Enhancing accessibility - physical and other
  • Transportation and tactical urbanism
  • Harm reduction, gender safety, and trauma-informed practices
  • Emergency planning for non-traditional venues, and immersive events

Festival assessment consultants will:

  • Conduct comprehensive safety assessments: Observe festival operations, review safety documents, and evaluate emergency preparedness measures.
  • Deliver clear, actionable recommendations: Provide specific, achievable suggestions to improve festival safety based on best practices and industry standards.
  • Offer ongoing support: Remain available for questions and guidance as the host organization implements recommended safety improvements.

Festivals undergoing emergency preparedness assessments should:

  • Grant access: Provide consultants with complete access to all festival areas, including stages, food and beverage stations, first aid, evacuation routes, and other safety-related facilities.
  • Share documents: Give consultants your existing safety policies, emergency response plans, and site maps to help them understand your current safety protocols.
  • Introduce key personnel: Connect consultants with staff and volunteers responsible for safety, security, and emergency response to promote effective communication and collaboration.
  • Provide a schedule: Share a detailed festival timetable, including setup, teardown, performances, and other relevant events, enabling consultants to allocate their time efficiently and focus on essential safety aspects.
  • Implement recommendations: Be ready to execute consultants' suggestions, allocating necessary resources (funds, staff, equipment) for required changes.
  • Engage in debriefing: Participate actively in debriefing sessions with consultants, discussing audit findings, recommendations, and devising an improvement action plan.
  • Maintain communication: Keep in touch with consultants during the festival, responding promptly to their requests for information or assistance.

A Festival Assessment Interest Form is available for download here for those organizations interested in receiving an assessment for their festival.

The “four pillars” concept is used in PAR Festival Safety Assessments and is drawn from the Art of Mass Gatherings approach to organizational resilience developed by Majestic Collaborations. Learn more at theartofmassgatherings.com.