While we all safely shelter-in-place during this pandemic, here is a list of ways you can enrich your understanding of various aspects of event and festival production, management, and safety.
I have personally read all of the books listed below (with the exception of the Risk and Hazard Mgmt book and the Video Production book; I will do that soon) and while some are a bit old, they all have good lessons that can still be applied today. Anyone that is a manager (or wishes to be one), I highly recommend you start with Dare to Lead, then look at setting up surveys for your team from the Appreciation and Tendencies books to help you better understand how to lead them (and for your team to interact with each other).
Below the books are some other resources, including podcasts, webinars, and e-magazines that I’ve found to be helpful. The Event Safety Alliance, in particular, is full of wonderful information – and now is the perfect time to catch up on the latest in safety procedures.
And finally, there’s a small list of video tutorials / examples – I highly recommend you watch the crowd surge videos; it will help you see just how powerful and hazardous a surge can be in a large crowd. Note how they curved the pit barricade to help diffuse any surges rather than have it be a straight line (good thinking on their part).
I’ll keep updating the links below as I find new books / resources / videos. And while most of the links below are to Amazon, remember that there are also websites like https://bookshop.org which pledge to give a percentage of their sales back to your local bookstores.
Event and Festival Reading
General Festival / Event / Career Related
ESA’s Guide to Reopening – just released on May 11, 2020, “The Reopening Guide addresses health and sanitary issues that event and venue professionals need to consider in order to protect both patrons and workers. Since there is still insufficient testing, no contact tracing, and no vaccine against COVID-19, this guidance is particularly detailed. The first edition is tailored to be especially useful for event professionals reopening the smallest events with the fewest resources available to mitigate their risks, since in every municipal reopening plan these will be allowed to reopen first.”
Backstage Handbook – an “illustrated almanac of technical information”, this book is essential for any theater stage manager, and is quite useful for concert stage managers as well. Includes sections on knot tying, pictures of stage related tools, shop math, and much more.
Dare to Lead – if you read one book from this list, make it this one. A “greatest hits” of sorts from Brene’s previous works, this book is valuable for anyone who’s looking for courageous, empathetic, vulnerable, compassionate leadership goals.
The Four Tendencies – the second of two tests I give many of my staff; this helps understand how your staff will react to internal and external influences, and how to work best with each type of tendency.
Talking to Strangers – What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know – this is a compelling, important read (complete with fascinating case studies) that dives into “an exploration of what goes wrong when we talk to strangers…and how to make those conversations go right.”
Entertainment Rigging for the 21st Century – of all rigging books, this one does the best job explaining not just the usual rigging you see on arena gigs, but also aerialist rigging, counterweight rigging, and other niche forms of suspending people or equipment in the air. It also has rigging math examples and problems to solve.
The Unthinkable – Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – the case studies in this book will change how you think about disaster planning / human nature forever. Most compelling for me was the story about the security director for Morgan Stanley that, by nature of adjusting to normal human biases and behavior in disasters, was able to train his company’s 2,000+ staff to virtually all survive the 9/11 attacks at the WTC. This book is invaluable for anyone in a leadership role at events and festivals.
The Event Safety Guide– this fantastic compilation of event safety protocols and best practices is long overdue. Rather than be a how-to book for beginners, this book is designed for on-site use at an event, where you can quickly find elements that pertain to your situation and utilize the information accordingly.
OSHA Training – 30 Hour Online Course Note – there are multiple providers of OSHA training; this is just one option. The 10 Hour is more for entry-level folks while the 30 Hour is for anyone in a supervisor / managerial role.
Tour Mgmt – a series of 101 / beginner videos about tour management, including travel, day of show, budgeting, and more.
Concert Business Basics – hosted by Jen Kellogg, a series of virtual workshops. Topics will include: Routing, Tour Budgets, Deal Structures, Settlement, Venues, People and Roles, Ancillary Revenue Streams and more.
Music Minds – a music industry hub for educational content and resources. They have done a great job organizing all of the webinars, virtual meetings, and such using a calendar layout.