Safe spaces, mental health services, drug checking facilities. Welcome to the brave new world of harm reduction, the latest life safety tool of the booming global festival industry.
BY JESSE ROMAN
It wasn’t always that way, according to Andrew Bazos, a surgeon who started working at large music festivals in New York City in the early 1990s. Back then, promoters were obsessed with lineups, sound production, and security—medical concerns were often an afterthought, he said. “In those days the promoter would call up a local ambulance company and arbitrarily ask amateurs to come by, find a tent near the stage, and bring whatever supplies they deemed appropriate. It didn’t go much further than that,” he said.
Bazos is now the chairman of CrowdRx, one of the industry’s largest event medical providers. Last year, CrowdRx handled medical services for dozens of eclectic events, including Burning Man, the US Open, The Gorge Amphitheatre, Madison Square Garden, and several EDM festivals including Mysteryland and Electric Zoo. Each event presents a host of unique challenges and considerations, Bazos said, and medical planning goes well beyond grabbing a roll of gauze and hitting the road. “Data now drives everything we do,” he said. “We’re using data to both predict the volume and types of incidents we’ll see so we can be prepared on the supply side. At this point we can identify what the transport rate [to the hospital] will likely be based on four or five different key data points.” Variables such as music genre, whether camping is allowed, whether alcohol will be sold, the expected number and demographics of attendees, geographic location, and proximity to hospitals can all greatly alter the supplies, equipment, and staffing required for an event, Bazos said.
Prefestival stakeholder meetings are held to review logistics and response plans, which often include tabletop exercises. Cooperation and open lines of communication are critical before and during an event, said Connor Fitzpatrick, director of operations at CrowdRx. “Nothing is done in a vacuum, and everything is interdisciplinary,” he said. “Fire, medical, security, operations—all the stakeholders have to be involved because everything affects everything else. If the promoter is charging $10 for water, for instance, that will impact medical concerns.” Click here to read more.
CNN’s Lisa Ling discusses music festival medical coverage with CrowdRx’s Dr. Andrew Bazos. Lisa follows CrowdRx’s Connor Fitzpatrick and team while providing their music festival medical services and expertise at Mysteryland. Exploring how CrowdRx is working to make EDM festivals safer for all.
By Joe Reinhartz
Pollstar featured the medical team CrowdRx approximately a year ago. Recently, we were offered the opportunity to visit the team onsite at Burning Man. Why not?
At Burning Man, CrowdRx had dedicated pilots to transport patients to Reno if needed, but it also had a healthcare system complete with emergency physicians, nurses, paramedics, X-Ray facilities, ultrasound, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, and its own fleet of ambulances roaming the playa. The medical treatment and associated costs were paid for by Burning Man and included with the cost of the ticket. CrowdRx also touted that it was able to obtain for the first time in the event’s history a Nevada license for the facility and medical laboratory, “passing criteria to be officially recognized as an Independent Center for Emergency Care.”
The emergency care center was dubbed “Rampart” in honor of the TV show “Emergency!” but we didn’t see anybody yelling into Motorola radios. It was a pretty chill place, with visitors who were appreciative, talkative and whose needs were as routine as a stitch on a pinky finger to as severe as putting a femur in traction after a skydiving accident.
Click here to read the full article!
Harm reduction groups are trying to prevent bad trips and medical emergencies – but will the law let them?
To reduce the potential harms of hyperthermia, Bazos says, on-site doctors administer cooling techniques found in hospital settings, which reduces the use of ambulances – a cost-saving and face-saving technique, given that, as he notes, local towns are unlikely to want their ERs overrun with festival-goers. “A lot of festivals are in rural locations and hospitals aren’t equipped by high volume,” he says. “Quicker care on site is much better for many conditions.”
When you think about the glitz and glamour of any event or festival — regardless of whether it’s large or small —it is a safe bet that on-site emergency medical services wouldn’t be what pops into your mind first. Or even second. But providing the best possible medical care to those attending such festivities has become the life’s work of Dr. Andrew Bazos, Founder and Chairman of Philadelphia, PA-based CrowdRx.
“We want to continue to be the go-to name in on-site medical coverage in the future as we are now and grow even stronger. We want to continue to accumulate data and positive experiences across different venues and different festivals and have our policies and procedures refined so we can share them across the industry so that we can make safe experiences everywhere, whether we are directly involved or not,” Dr. Bazos said. “We are not a company that wants to have a secret formula. In medicine, we try to share good things that we discover with our colleagues. So, even if it means doing consulting at venues to help them make their area better, a safe show elsewhere helps the entire industry, which is what we want to see.”
See the article in LineupLive Magazine here!
Fans of EDM music love hearing the oontz-oontz and getting glitter bombed. They do not necessarily find the guy standing next to an ambulance as interesting.
Andrew Bazos, MD, CrowdRx founder explains why it’s important to promote health and safety as well as events.
Event Medical and Security Consultant Dr. Andrew Bazos discusses security measures and protocol to help curtail the use of Ecstasy and other drugs at EDM festivals. Making raves safer for participants makes them more consumable for corporate sponsors.
Following a spate of highly publicized drug related incidents, safety and security has taken center stage for American show promoters. Taking a page from the European electro scene, American promoters are shifting to more comprehensive, long-term strategies, such as peer-based crisis management and drug education to reduce drug-related incidents at festivals. According to Dr. Bazos, Chairman of the SFX Medical and Safety Committee, these tactics among others have worked well recently in the U.S. with SFX’s entire 2014 run of festivals.
Read the full article in FADER MAGAZINE
Drug-fueled electronic dance festivals – like this month’s Electric Zoo in New York – shine a light on the need for advanced emergency management at mass gatherings…
CrowdRx is speaking at the 2014 Amsterdam Dance Event on October 16th.
Andrew Bazos, Chairman of CrowdRx, will be moderating panelists including Erick Salk, MD and others.
Topics will include emergency room physicians, paramedics, and EMT staffing, plus equipment needs for the site. The panel will also cover incident action plans tailored to the location, duration, nature of event, spectator profile, size, and enhanced coordination and collaboration of law enforcement, fire prevention, EMS providers, and festival security.
Get more info here