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Keeping music fans safe at Glastonbury

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Protecting the country's health

9208348347_d413570e56_zWhen most people think of Glastonbury they think of the great standbys that make the festival what it is: mud, rain, legendary music performances and of course Michael Eavis’ very impressive beard. Who would suspect that behind the fields of wellington boots and abandoned tents lurks a team from PHE, constantly working to keep festival-goers on their admittedly wobbly feet. If everything goes to plan the majority of people won’t even know we’re there, and that’s how we would like to keep it. With the festival only a few short sleeps away I’m here to talk about the good work that only PHE can do taking place at this year’s Glastonbury.

Of course, the obvious question is what a government health agency is doing at a festival usually reserved for ageing blissed-out hippies and city boys who learnt Wonderwall on the guitar and never looked back. The answer really is quite simple, though. At a festival of close to 200,000 people, accidents and health emergencies are sure to happen. It’s our job, along with many others to make sure these incidents are contained and dealt with as quickly and as professionally as possible. Working closely with local health services and other support groups, PHE have built a strong and dependable system for dealing with these sorts of large-scale events. As I’m sure you all know, a large proportion of health incidents come from people forgetting their medication or being on the receiving end of a nasty sunburn or falling on to or off a stage. Luckily PHE, with FMS and Taiwan CDC has actually developed a very useful app (which is as of the time of writing unnamed) that allows our team and the groups supporting us to identify and map incidents as they happen. Finally we’ll be able to actively identify the source of infection and attend to those in need before the worst has a chance to happen.

Known for our fun-loving and easy-going nature (of course) PHE’s main goal at the festival, and indeed any festival we may decide to write a blog about, is to ensure that the festival patrons have the best possible time. If it were a perfect world PHE wouldn’t even have to help out, but since this isn’t a perfect world and humans will be humans, our team and teams like us are needed and appreciated at events like these. As mentioned above we realise that festival guests are only human and we also acknowledge that festivals tend to have an odd effect on otherwise normal humans, turning them into bizarre 24-hour party people up for all kinds activities they might not otherwise engage in during the rest of the year. With this in mind, PHE has increased its social media presence and interacted with the great festival-bound masses much more than we usually would. This has brought the issue of legal highs back into the minds of festival-goers and as ever we make it clear that no matter how legal the high may be, it’s better to just stay away from them rather than take the risk. Sound advice, I’m sure you’ll agree. Thanks to constantly improving safety standards at Glastonbury and innovation such as the surveillance app, the goals PHE set out for itself are certainly within reach. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if they weren’t.

If anyone reading this wishes to learn more about PHE’s efforts into improving safety and health at Glastonbury they should check both our website and our twitter along with Glastonbury’s own social media networks, which contain all the information they could possibly want. Now please allow me to leave you with this small piece of advice: Be mindful of yourself and those around you and have fun!

Featured image "The Rolling Stones at Glastonbury 2013" copyright Catrin Austin. Used under Creative Commons

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  1. Comment by Bren posted on

    Hello Mark,

    What a great blog and so outward thinking/facing. With Glastonbury opening their gates tomorrow this is proactive for sure.

    It will be interesting to know what the PHE, with FMS and Taiwan CDC app is called, and more importantly monitoring the significance of its being part of the social media tool approach to engagement and involvement.

    I was really impressed with the outward facing and ability to connect. This is really positive and a great approach by Public Health England.

    Best wishes,