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Organizing an event

Meetings with authorities

When planning an event, you should never hesitate to contact the relevant authorities. In the case of large or potentially risky events, you must call together a meeting with authorities.

This meeting offers you a chance to go through the event and any possible risks. Each authority is an expert in their field and may set conditions for the event that the organiser must abide by. Depending on the event, you could invite the Central Finland Police Department, Tampere Region Rescue Department, City of Tampere Environmental Protection, The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira), City of Tampere Building Control, City of Tampere Facilities Management, and City of Tampere Planning Services.

Feel free to ask for our help in organising the meeting.

Event safety

Event safety in Finland is regulated by various laws and acts. They are in there to protect both the event-goer and the organiser. The laws and the related permits also act to make the event organiser aware of the risks and danger points.

Always consider that even if an element of the event (e.g. fireworks) is outsourced, the event organiser is still responsible for the element.

It is strongly recommended to involve the rescue department, the police, ambulance services and other authorities early on in the event planning. This will help you map out the risks involved more comprehensively and prevent them to a greater extent.

Risk factors include:

  • accidents;
  • crowd movement, crushing, panic;
  • collapsing structures;
  • sudden bad weather;
  • nearby bodies of water;
  • pyrotechnics, fireworks;
  • violent acts, terrorism;
  • audience activities (e.g. flights, rides, bungee jumping, tattoo parlours).

Near misses and accidents

If a near miss or an accident takes place at the event, a notification must be made to the authority responsible for the supervision of consumer services, the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes). The event organiser is responsible for making the notification.

Security personnel

Security stewards appointed by the event organiser are responsible for monitoring safety during the event. The rule of thumb is that there must be at least one security steward per one hundred visitors in the event. The police determines the minimum amount of guards for each event and can, if necessary, require the event organiser to increase the number of security stewards even during the event if this is required by the nature of the event.

Persons responsible for safety must be able to communicate with each other by means of walkie-talkies, for example. The number of visitors to the event must be monitored in order to ensure that the maximum number of people allowed at the venue is not exceeded.

For large or potentially risky events, you must appoint a professional security manager. It is their job to act as liaison to rescue and first aid personnel and draft an alarm plan and a first aid plan. The plans are given to all first aid personnel, security stewards, event personnel and outside vendors/service providers. It is imperative that everyone knows what to do and who to contact in case of emergency.

First aid

The event organiser must prepare for the arrangement of first aid. The organiser is also responsible for first aid preparedness and alerting additional help. The level of first aid preparedness depends on the nature of event and the number of visitors. No specific first aid team is required for small events and events with low risks, but even in those cases, first aid equipment must be available on the event location. The Finnish Red Cross, for example, provides first aid services for events. First aid teams must be booked for the event one month in advance. Including a first aid team or the rescue and first aid authorities in the planning of event and the evaluation of risks, for example, helps the event organiser to prevent dangerous situations even better.

The provision of first aid varies from one team of 2–3 people to several teams depending on the nature of the event and the degree of gravity and extent of the risks. If you have questions about how to organise first aid, contact the first aid department of the Hospital District.

Security-related licences and permits

A safety plan must be delivered to the police along with the notice of a public event. Generally it is also either mandatory or recommended to submit an emergency plan to the rescue services. The plans can also be combined as long as the plan addresses all the items required by both authorities. A well-drafted safety and emergency plan also serves as a checklist for the event organiser that makes it easier to go through the safety-related issues.

More information on safety and emergency plans under the licences and permits page.

Inspection by the authorities

An inspection by the authorities is arranged before the beginning of the event, with authorities participating according to their interests. The event organiser is responsible for calling the inspection. The inspection takes place at the event venue. The time of the inspection is agreed in advance and communicated to all the relevant authorities. During the inspection, all critical parts of the event, safety risks and other matters that the authorities find relevant are discussed. Bring the necessary documents (e.g. safety and rescue plan, consumer safety plan) to the inspection with you.

Insurance

Permits and notifications to the authorities do not lessen the event organiser’s responsibility for accidents. The event organiser is always liable for accidents. Remember that a company’s or organisation’s general insurance does not always include liability insurance for public events covering damage or accidents occurring to visitors in an event. The event organiser should determine the types of insurance needed for the event in the planning phase.

Accident insurance

Accident insurance covers accidents to the event organiser, event staff and volunteers. It is legally required that the event organiser takes out accident insurance for all hired employees.

The organiser is responsible for the safety of volunteers. Make sure to check the appropriate insurance policies for your event.

Liability insurance

Liability insurance covers all liabilities for personal or property damage the event has towards the visitors, officers or third parties. The insurance does not cover any damage to the organiser, staff or volunteer workers. The police requires proof of liability insurance. Without it, the notification of the public event will not be approved.

Insuring inanimate objects

Think about the objects you have at your event and who is responsible for insuring them. Instruments and PA equipment are typical valuable objects at events. Make separate agreements for all valuables. There are separate insurance policies and rules for pieces of art.

Venue

Event site plan

Once you have booked your venue, you should draw an event site plan. The plan can be general at the start, but should be very specific by the time you deliver it to the authorities. You can make use of Tampere open maps to get started. Occasionally a satellite image is clearer than a drawn map.

Elements of the event site plan include:

  • stages, stands, spectator areas
  • event site borders and audience entry and exit routes, and accessible routes
  • maintenance routes, emergency routes, parking, closed-off streets, storage
  • activities and services (e.g. food stalls, competition & warm-up, amusements)
  • information / Registration / Tickets
  • first aid
  • lost & found
  • fire extinguisher etc.
  • toilets, water points, waste management
  • banners, flags, stands, other sponsor/marketing materials.

This detailed site plan is given to the event production team, staff, volunteers, vendors, and authorities. A separate, simpler map is drawn for the event-goers.

Electricity

Most events require electricity on site. When booking a venue for an event, check the availability of electricity with the lessor of the venue; this is particularly important in the case of outdoor events.

Most marketplaces and parks owned by the city feature electrical outlets that are available to the event organiser. Direct any queries regarding the use of electrical outlets to the lessor of the venue in the first place. Should electricity not be available or if the number of outlets is insufficient, contact the customer service team of the local power company Tampereen Sähköverkko Oy for available options and a schedule for arranging a temporary mains connection. In particularly difficult conditions, you can also consider using a generator instead of or in addition to a temporary mains connection.

Draft a list of all the operations and activities at your event that require electricity. This will help the experts to estimate your electricity needs and supply enough electricity for your event. A temporary mains connection must be ordered at least two weeks before the connection is required. Ordering it at a shorter notice will result in additional costs.

Pay extra attention to electrical safety at outdoor events. Electrical devices must be protected against rain and vandalism. Keep the cables away from walkways and driveways and cover them with cable protectors, if necessary. All electrical installations must be carried out by a qualified electrician.

Consider the electricity requirements of your event in good time to help the experts estimate your electricity needs accurately. – Markus Joonas, City of Tampere

Water

If food or alcohol are served at your event, the venue must have a water supply. You may also want to consider selling or serving water for free especially at sports events and on hot summer days.

You should contact the lessor of the venue to check the availability of a water connection. Some of the public areas owned by the city do not have a water connection; while most of the marketplaces do feature a water connection, many parks do not. Always agree upon the use of water connections in marketplaces with their respective supervisors. Where a water connection is not available, water must be supplied in a tank, for instance, available from Tampereen Vesi and other companies.

Structures

Various kinds of structures, such as stages, tents, canopies, fences, toilets, benches and tables are needed at events. At bigger events, a stage is a must, but a stage will also give the audience more visibility at small events.

The structures must be stable enough to withstand such sudden occurrences as a heavy thunderstorm. Even though the supplier of the stage structures assembles the stage, the event organizer is responsible for making sure that all structures are stable. In the case of major events and other events with lots of structures, the approval of the structures by the building inspection authorities is required.

Securing tents and other structures

Check the weights of every tent, stage and structure. Make sure you know the wind tolerance limits of all structures and provide wind speed meters for all stage managers and other people responsible for the structures.

In case of heavy wind:

  • Determine the strength of the structure
  • Remove possible dangerous structures such as banners and beach flags
  • If needed, remove the walls and ceilings of stage structures
  • If needed, evacuate some or all of the area

Tents and other structures must be secured to the ground, and they must have enough exits and sufficient fire protection equipment.

Secure your tents according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Minimum weights for securing a tent are:

2x2 m tent: min. 40 kg weights per post.

Toilets

The venue must have sufficient toilet facilities with hand wash stations for guests. Most indoor venues are equipped with sufficient toilet facilities, but when needed, you can increase the capacity with portable toilets or the toilets in nearby facilities.

At many outdoor venues, there are no toilet facilities and in most cases, portable toilets that do not require tap water or a sewerage connection need to be transported to the area. Specially designed ecological dry toilets, toilet trailers and container toilets with running water and a sewerage connection are also available. Please note that the toilets must not be flushed to storm drains under any circumstances! Check the availability of sewers and running water with the venue owner in good time. Remember that for longer events, toilets without a sewerage connection may have to be emptied during the event. Portable toilet suppliers can assist you in these matters.

If you are organising a small-scale outdoor event where food or alcohol are not served, you can ask if it would be possible to use the toilet facilities of a nearby building. In this case, it is advisable to have a security steward supervise the area.

Toilet facilities should be placed in a suitable location on the site, and there must be clear signage pointing to their location in the area. According to the guidelines provided by the Finnish National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health Valvira, dry toilets must be placed on compact soil in a manner that prevents any health risks arising from smells or the contamination of household water or soil. In addition, the toilet must be properly ventilated in a manner that prevents the smells from spreading elsewhere in the premises.

A hand wash station must be provided in connection with toilet facilities. If it is not possible to provide a hand wash station due to the lack of running water and plumbing, for instance, disinfecting liquids or hand towels can be provided instead. Remember to place waste bins in or near the toilet facilities.

Number of toilets needed

Toilet facilities should be provided for men and women, and the accessibility of toilets for the disabled should be taken into account. It is advisable to have a few unisex toilets available. Half of the toilets for men can be replaced with an equivalent number of urinals.

Consider the event’s guest demographics when planning the toilet facilities: generally, a higher number of ladies’ or unisex facilities is needed than men’s. Also consider whether a potty chair, changing table, toilet seat reducer ring or other sanitary equipment for children are needed at your event.

The Finnish National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health Valvira provides guidelines that include instructions for estimating the number of toilet facilities needed at events, and portable toilet suppliers can help you to determine the number of toilets needed at your event. You can also contact the City of Tampere’s health department (Tampereen kaupungin Terveydensuojelu) or Tampere Event Services for consultation.

The total number of toilets needed depends on the nature of the event, and it may be lower than suggested in the below guidelines if the event is short or there are public toilet facilities available near the venue. Correspondingly, if the event lasts longer than five hours or if alcohol is served at the event, the number of toilets should be higher. The numbers in the table below should only be used as a starting point for estimating the actual number of toilets needed.

Number of toilets needed at events
Guests For womenFor men Accessible to disabled visitors
50 or fewer 11 1
51 - 250 22 1
251 - 50033 1
501 - 750 5 4 1
751 - 1,000 6 5 1
1,000 or more, per 250 guests +1 +1 1 in 1,000

Valvira guidelines are available at the link below in Finnish. The nature of the event has a major effect on the actual numbers needed.

Pro tip: If you notice that, for example, there is a long queue for the ladies’ toilets while some of the men’s toilets tend to be vacant, simply switch the signage to turn a couple of men’s toilets into women’s toilets.

Alcohol dispensing area

If you serve alcohol at your event, Finnish law dictates that the alcohol dispensing area must be separated clearly from other areas (typically by fences). The area may be located in such a way that watching the programme is possible from there. The area may, however, not be placed in front of the stage or in the way of exit routes. Since a new alcohol act has come into effect in 2018, it is now, under certain circumstances, possible to dispense alcohol throughout the event site, provided the entire site is restricted to over 18.

One square metre must be provided for each customer allowed in the area. The entrance to the alcohol dispensing area must be placed in such a way that a possible queue does not prevent the movement of other visitors. The queue to the dispensing point may be separated from the exit route by means of a fence, for example, to avoid disturbances.

More information on alcohol-related licences and permits on the licences and permits page.

Smoking

Finnish legislation restricts smoking at event venues.

At outdoor venues, smoking is prohibited in spectator stands, bleachers, marquees, and other areas dedicated to watching the programme where people typically sit or stand still.

A separate smoking area may be designated, as long as the smoke doesn’t carry indoors or to areas where smoking is prohibited. The event organizer must indicate the smoking area with signs, and supervise compliance; e.g. by instructing the security stewards to monitor the situation.

At indoor venues, all smoking is prohibited, except for previously approved restricted areas. The prohibition also applies to other smoking, e.g. electronic cigarettes and hookahs.

More information on smoking-related licences and permits on the licences and permits page.

Animals

The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency recommends always planning separate routes for animals. Confining animals to their own routes and areas promotes better hygiene, alleviates allergies, and promotes safety.

Waste management

When planning your event, consider whether there are sufficient waste collection facilities at the venue. Are there waste bins at the venue, and are they available for use at the event? Ask the lessor of the venue for permission to use them.

If it is necessary to arrange for waste collection at the event, make sure that there are bins around the venue where they are needed the most, such as near exits, along walkways and next to food stands. Stands that sell food or alcoholic beverages as well as other operations that produce significant amounts of waste require their own waste collection bins in addition to those reserved for guests. If the waste is sorted at the event, remember to notify the operators beforehand and mark the bins clearly.

The event organiser is also responsible for emptying the waste bins. The bins may have to be emptied several times a day at events with food service and a large number of guests.

If there are fixed waste bins at the venue that can be expected to be filled during the event, the event organiser is responsible for emptying them as well. For more information, please contact the lessor of the venue.

“We will lend you the key to the waste press in Keskustori. It is very useful at events that produce a lot of waste, such as those that involve the sale of food." – Marketplace Supervisor, City of Tampere

The waste bin supplier will help you to estimate the number of waste bins you need. You can contact Tampere Regional Solid Waste Management (Pirkanmaan Jätehuolto) for advice.

We advise you to mark the locations of waste bins to the venue map to avoid placing them on exit or escape routes.

Pro tip: It makes sense to collect any beverage cans separately: in addition to contributing to their recycling, you may recover a decent amount of money when returning deposit packages to a collection point. A good solution is to use transparent refuse sacks where you can put a few cans in as an example. You can also have a few people patrol the area, collecting empty cans that have been left on tables or the ground.

Placement of waste bins:

  • Clearly visible and accessible;
  • Central locations along walkways and exit routes;
  • Near food and drink stands.

Tips for reducing the amount of waste and litter:

  • make sure that there are enough clearly marked waste bins in the area, place them along walkways and near food stands, and make sure they are emptied often enough;
  • avoid unnecessary packaging;
  • plan any food service in a manner that results in as little waste as possible;
  • charge a deposit for reusable dishes such as glasses and mugs;
  • avoid distributing flyers or individually-wrapped marketing materials at the event.

A dedicated waste management plan is required in the case of large events, particularly if food and drinks are served at the event. The event organiser must submit the waste management plan to the City of Tampere Environmental Protection Unit a month before the event at the latest.

More information on an event's waste management plan on the licences and permits page.

Cleaning up the venue

A clean venue is a key element that contributes to the atmosphere and attractiveness of the event; an untidy and littered venue may not attract guests to return to the event. Litter attracts more litter. Likewise, the tidier the venue is, the less waste people will leave lying around. In addition to actual waste management working well, this is psychological: if the venue is tidy, people will not want to litter it.

Ecology contributes to a positive image. If the venue is untidy before the event, contact the lessor. Make sure to arrange for cleaning up during the event to keep the venue attractive. Plan the times and resources for cleaning during the event to make sure it can be carried out smoothly. You can also set up teams of volunteers to patrol the area and clean it up.

The venue must be cleaned up after the event. If it is not possible to collect the rubbish manually, the event organiser must make sure the venue is cleaned up using suitable machines. You may contact the lessor of the venue for advice on cleaning up the venue.

Arriving at the event

Tampere is easily accessible by train, airplane, bus and car. In fact, 2/3 Finns live within a 2-hour-distance of the city, while regular international flights are available.

Thanks to the extensive local bus network, moving around the city is easy. When planning your event, consider how the visitors will arrive at the venue and whether the expected visitors will come from Tampere, from other cities or abroad. The visitors must be informed of the means of transport available by, for example, providing information on the connections and schedules on the event web site.

Encourage your visitors to use public transport or to walk or bike. Using public transport, biking and walking are clearly more environmentally friendly than private cars and should therefore be promoted even when parking is available. The city does not appoint specific parking spaces or parking permits for events. Biking can be promoted by arranging a guarded bicycle parking area. Also consider arranging baby pram parking.

Use of public transport can be encouraged by, for example, including a bus ticket in the entrance ticket or arranging a shuttle bus connection between the event venue and the city centre. Talk to Tampere City Public Transport about any special arrangements and their costs.

If the nature of the event dictates a number of people arriving by car, carefully plan routes and parking. If your event takes place during a weekend or summer, you could inquire schools and public building for temporary use of their parking premises. Ask the school administration directly for school park spaces. City-owned parking spaces fall under the jurisdiction of City of Tampere planning services and must be applied for well in advance. Limited parking inside the event site can be planned with the venue owner. Discuss special event deals with private parking space companies. Remember to reserve a sufficient number of larger parking spots for people with disabilities. Make sure these parking spots are on flat surface and as close to entry and exit to the area as possible.

Even major city constructions sites may be arranged to work around a major event, provided the event organizer contacts the relevant parties very early on.

Event day checklist

  • The person in charge who has the authority to make any decision, if necessary
  • Persons in charge of other areas of responsibility
  • Essential contact persons for all workers/volunteers, including phone numbers to reach them on the day of the event
  • e.g. for the stage manager, phone numbers of all performers/their agents; contact information of the head of the security stewards, the first aid crew and for all premises that may be locked
  • Social media: who is in charge of updating social media channels on the day of the event?
  • Still/video photography
  • Reception of performers/participants/workers and volunteers/guests
  • Backstage area, spectator areas, waiting rooms, press rooms -> are the facilities ready, are they clean and tidy, ensure signage and direction to them
  • Distribution of area passes/wristbands to workers, security stewards, technical staff, performers, etc. Provide colour-coded passes/wristbands, if necessary.
  • Structure checks
  • Soundchecks (between 7 am and 8 pm, preferably during daytime)
  • Technical tests (e.g. lights, projectors, computers)
  • Reception of emergency service representatives and participation in the audit
  • Shifts, lunch breaks and toilet breaks for staff members
  • Clothing for staff according to the weather
  • Setting up, equipping and staffing an info desk
  • Lost and found: arrange for a locked storage for lost and found items
  • First aid kit and extinguishing equipment
  • Briefing for security stewards
  • Mobile phones/walkie-talkies
  • Who switches on the electricity and/or unlocks electrical cabinets? Is it necessary to turn on water/heating/air conditioning?

Pro tip: The most frequently asked questions at info desks concern toilet facilities, smoking areas, first aid stations and food or coffee stands. It makes sense to mark these areas and facilities very clearly and make sure that staff (including security stewards) know where they are and how to direct people there.


Pro tip: If you have to spend a lot of time outdoors in the cold during the event, pack a second set of clothes, including underwear, and keep it in a warm place. You’ll be surprised at how warm you feel after changing.

The type of equipment you need depends on your event. Here is a short list of things we have found useful at most events.

Important items to remember:

  • Event permits and licences for inspection;
  • Venue map;
  • All necessary keys (electrical cabinet, backstage area, info booth, etc.);
  • Cable ties, insulating tape, riveting gun and rivets;
  • Marker pens, pens and pencils, paper, cardboard;
  • Rubbish bags, towels, kitchen roll;
  • Rain cape, sunglasses, water bottle, packed meal (production team may not have time to take a lunch break).

Post-event responsibilities

Disassembly and cleaning up

The event organiser’s work continues after the event is over. It is the event organiser’s responsibility to make sure that the venue is cleared and cleaned up, the structures are disassembled, and all rented and borrowed equipment is returned. People responsible for the disassembly and the schedule for it must be agreed upon in good time before the event.

Documentation

In the case of recurring events, it is particularly important to record what was done, what went well and what could be improved the next time during and after the event. This will make the work a lot easier the following year, particularly if the personnel changes before the next event is organised.

Evaluation and feedback

After the event, it is time to evaluate its success. Consider what went well and what could be improved. Suitable tools for carrying out the evaluation include a feedback survey and an evaluation meeting. When planning the event, it is good to agree on a schedule for the evaluation, the target group for the feedback survey, and the means of asking for feedback. Analyse and go through the feedback in an evaluation meeting. All parties involved in the organisation of the event, including partners and authorities, if necessary, should participate in the meeting.

Post-event marketing and thanks

Event organisers should always remember post-event marketing as well. Thank your partners and volunteers via email, for example, and the participants and guests using your social media channels and website. This is also a great opportunity to advertise your next event.

Reporting

If the event received grants or public financing, it has the responsibility to report on the event and its finances afterwards.