This year, organisers of St Pauls Carnival brought in Redwood Event Solutions as their chosen crowd management and safety specialist to work and support the team through all phases of the event from design, pre planning to onsite delivery.

From the initial planning stage, Redwood worked closely with the St Pauls Carnival operations team to help develop the event’s offering, advising on all crowd management aspects and supporting in their role as safety consultants. 

As part of the planning, Redwood created a detailed, multi-layer crowd management plan that built on learnings from previous years and considered how the open access, free-to-attend event could be delivered safely. 

Jim Davey, managing director of Redwood Event Solutions, said: “St Pauls Carnival is one of Bristol’s largest events, attracting approximately 100,000 people, and the components of the carnival make it hugely popular to everyone in the city, which in turn brings some crowd management challenges. 

Picture credit: ItsJust.ART Media
Picture credit: ItsJust.ART Media

“Planning for an event where there are no ticket sales to judge attendance levels and no specific entry or exit points, meant we had to analyse, predict and model how people would access, flow, part and leave the event site. This was no small task for the carnival as simply turning the taps off and stopping the flow is simply not an option. 

“The residential nature of the site and the enthusiasm of residents to have their own parties and sound systems within the event also added another dynamic to factor in.” 

With a four-hour procession including 17 floats and 10 dance troops, four music stages and a further 15 sound systems across the carnival, the event site was constantly monitored by team Redwood to identify and manage areas of high footfall and ensure the procession could make its way through the streets safely.  

Jim continued: “For the popular procession, St Pauls’ streets were lined with families and spectators and, once the procession came to a close, the music line-up became the draw for Bristolians to enjoy at the carnival.

“We had to consider how these different elements of the event would impact on the flow of people, where the key pinch points would be across the day and how these challenges could be managed. A key part of our role was disseminating the very detailed and complex crowd management plan we’d written into bite size chunks for the relevant people on the ground to be able to understand and implement as and when needed.”

With a team of four experienced safety experts on site for carnival day, team Redwood were present across the site and in event control, co-ordinating and chairing the bronze event control meetings and working closely with silver control to oversee the event. 

LaToyah McAllister-Jones, executive director of St Pauls Carnival, said: “The Redwood team was integral to the success of this year’s St Pauls Carnival. Having worked on large scale events, they were able to bring that experience and expertise to our Carnival, which was invaluable to the wider operations team during the planning and at the event. It was great to work with a Bristol company to deliver this element of the event too!”

Molly Hookings
Author: Molly Hookings

Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: