6 episodes

The Art of Mass Gatherings Podcast explores the intersection of festivals and community resilience, focusing on climate and disaster preparedness. Launched in 2017, the symposium turned festivals across the US into classrooms for sharing knowledge across diverse fields such as arts, planning, culture, and food. The podcast features dialogues with event producers and emergency experts, emphasizing the four pillars of resilient gatherings: safety, sustainability, accessibility, and community engagement. It delves into the role of cultural traditions and festivals as platforms for social change

The Art of Mass Gatherings Majestic Collaborations

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

The Art of Mass Gatherings Podcast explores the intersection of festivals and community resilience, focusing on climate and disaster preparedness. Launched in 2017, the symposium turned festivals across the US into classrooms for sharing knowledge across diverse fields such as arts, planning, culture, and food. The podcast features dialogues with event producers and emergency experts, emphasizing the four pillars of resilient gatherings: safety, sustainability, accessibility, and community engagement. It delves into the role of cultural traditions and festivals as platforms for social change

    Chris Soliz - Enhancing Fire Safety in Mass Gatherings

    Chris Soliz - Enhancing Fire Safety in Mass Gatherings

    Summary

    In this episode of the Art of Mass Gatherings podcast, the hosts Matthew Ché Kowal, Tom Clareson, and Jessica Wallach explore the intersection of festivals and community resilience, with a focus on climate and disaster preparedness. They introduce their guest, Chris Soliz, a fire safety expert, and discuss his background and expertise. The conversation covers various topics, including the four pillars of resilient gatherings, the role of cultural traditions in community preparedness, and the importance of collaboration between emergency planners and the creative community. They also discuss the challenges and solutions in emergency planning for festivals, particularly in ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities. The episode emphasizes the need for community engagement, technology utilization, and mental health resiliency in disaster preparedness and recovery. The conversation covers various topics related to community engagement, event safety, emergency management, and cultural institutions. It emphasizes the importance of preparedness, training, and collaboration between different stakeholders. The chapters include discussions on community engagement and preparedness, safety considerations for events and festivals, the importance of drills and training, emergency management in Japan, asset mapping for cultural institutions, the art of mass gatherings and festival safety, building capacity for communities, and precautions for outdoor events.



    EPISODE 5 WEBSITE



    ART.WORK.LIFE Podcast by APAP is a special partner this season, and we are proud to boost one another, check them out! An award-winning podcast about what it's like to work in the performing arts, featuring stories from artists and arts workers like YOU, behind-the-scenes and up close. The podcast is produced by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals with the support of the Wallace Foundation.

    Chapters

    00:00 Introduction to the Art of Mass Gatherings Podcast

    01:02 Exploring the Four Pillars of Resilient Gatherings

    01:29 Introduction of Guest: Chris Solis

    04:28 Performing Arts Readiness and Collaboration with Chris Solis

    06:09 Working with Chris Solis at Art of Mass Gatherings Symposium

    08:14 Challenges and Solutions in Emergency Planning for Festivals

    10:57 Introducing Jessica Wallach and Majestic Collaborations

    11:31 Accessibility and Emergency Planning

    12:30 Ensuring Information and Options for People with Disabilities

    15:07 History and Implementation of Areas of Refuge

    20:12 Utilizing Technology for Safety and Communication

    23:27 Community Engagement and Preparedness

    26:30 Thinking About Bodies and Safety in Disasters

    29:32 Community Risk Reduction and Mental Health Resilience

    31:51 Relying on Community and Cultural Heritage for Recovery

    32:21 Community Preparedness and Recovery Strategies

    35:25 Safety Considerations for Events and Festivals

    38:25 Importance of Drills and Training

    44:14 Emergency Management in Japan

    48:26 Asset Mapping for Cultural Institutions

    51:35 The Art of Mass Gatherings and Festival Safety

    55:23 Building Capacity for Communities

    01:02:00 Precautions for Outdoor Events

    01:07:47 Conclusion

    • 1 hr 6 min
    What Can Festivals Teach us About Accessibility During Disaster - Panel At Nevada Emergency Managers Conference

    What Can Festivals Teach us About Accessibility During Disaster - Panel At Nevada Emergency Managers Conference

    Summary

    Jessica Wallach (Majestic Collaboration’s Accessibility Lead) hosts a panel discussion that focuses on the intersection of accessibility and safety in mass gatherings. The speakers highlight the importance of acknowledging the labor of emergency frontline workers and making emergency management accessible to all. They discuss the unique challenges and collaborations in Nevada, particularly in terms of accessibility at mass gatherings like Burning Man. The panelists emphasize the need for creative and practical solutions for people with disabilities, such as alternative methods of accessing elevated areas and adapting mobility equipment for different terrains. They also discuss the importance of communication, practice drills, and building relationships with the disability community in emergency planning. Featuring: Heather Lafferty, (Nevada Division of Emergency Management - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Access and Functional Needs Coordinator), Rat Lady (Mobility Camp, Burning Man), Irene Navis (Nevada Coordinator for the Western Regional Alliance for Pediatric Emergency Management (WRAP-EM) at University Medical Center of Southern Nevada) 

    Chapters

    00:00 Introduction

    12:53 Panel Introduction and Discussion on Accessibility at Burning Man

    23:38 Creative and Practical Solutions for Accessibility at Burning Man

    30:22 Planning and Preparation for Accessibility in Emergencies

    35:25 Challenges and Alternatives to “Areas of Refuge” Models *

    43:18 Tips and Solutions for Filling Gaps in Emergency Planning

    *during conversation it was called “shelter-in-place”, but  “Areas of Refuge” was the intention

    Sound Bites

    "We can learn through the best of times to survive and thrive in the hard times."

    "Accessibility is designed specifically for, by, and with people with disabilities"

    "It is always cheaper and easier to build accessibility in from the start than to retrofit"

    "Accessibility and safety go hand in hand"

    "Having an access and functional needs coordinator as part of the planning process is a big step"

    "There's always a workaround. Anytime somebody tells you there's only two ways to do this, there's often a third way"

    “You may have noticed that I speak a little differently. I think I speak a little slower with a lot more breath. You might have thought for a moment that I'm less smart than you because of the way I think. And I really just want to remind you that this is a result of hundreds and hundreds of years of ableism. It is not your fault. And you can go ahead and notice if you had that thought and let it go and just notice my brilliance“

    “So why do I like working with the art of mass gathering and why this? Mass gatherings are an amazing accessibility experiment. Unlike cities that get built and stay for hundreds of years, mass gatherings get built time and time and time again. And so we have the opportunity to think afresh every year we do a mass gathering“

    “in a disaster situation, you're going to have people that are newly disabled because of injuries" 

    And so you're going to need to have to think about what kind of services and equipment, especially what are they going to need to be functional“

    “And when you're staffing your disaster command centers and places where people are gonna need to be directing folks to different services. Look at your disabled community. Heck, they'll even bring their own comfortable chair“

    “accessibility is always worth the wait”

    “The world moves really, really, really fast. And we want to build and be ready.  And we have lots of deadlines. ‘ -build at the speed of accessibility.”

    “One of the things we have seen historically though at mass gatherings or in communal spaces like our offices, our schools is when that guidance is given or sometimes even when evacuation guidance is given, you'll see people with disabilities left behind. They'll be isolated, forgot about, they'll not get the message.”

    “Practice

    • 56 min
    Clip: Emergency Planning and Community Engagement in Event Planning -

    Clip: Emergency Planning and Community Engagement in Event Planning -

    Episode Website⁠ with additional resources



    Kelly Hubbard, the director for the Office of Emergency Management for the County of Santa Barbara. They discuss the commonalities between different types of mass gatherings, such as festivals, protests, and housing after disasters with The Art of Mass Gatherings hosts



    Summary

    In this episode, the hosts Matthew Ché Kowal and Tom Clareson interview Kelly Hubbard, the director for the Office of Emergency Management for the County of Santa Barbara. They discuss the commonalities between different types of mass gatherings, such as festivals, protests, and housing after disasters. They also explore the importance of ingress and egress planning, decision points for event cancellation, and collaboration between emergency managers and arts and culture organizations. Additionally, they highlight the need to consider both probabilities and possibilities in emergency planning and the inclusion of people with disabilities in emergency preparedness efforts. In this conversation, Kelly Hubbard discusses various aspects of emergency management and community resilience. She emphasizes the importance of improving communication and alert systems to ensure that everyone receives timely information during emergencies. Kelly also highlights the need for 

    enhanced information presentation for the deaf and hard of hearing, suggesting the use of technology such as flashing lights. Building relationships with public health departments is another crucial aspect of disaster preparedness and recovery. The role of arts in community recovery is explored, including the use of arts therapy and the availability of funding for arts organizations. Kelly shares lessons learned from the Route 91 incident and emphasizes the importance of preparing for pop-up events and considering first aid considerations. Finally, she discusses the blending of her passion for music and emergency management.

    *audio note: this was our first recording using our online service and it's not as pristine as you will find the other episodes, but well worth the listen!"

    Takeaways


    Improving communication and alert systems is crucial for ensuring that everyone receives timely information during emergencies.


    Enhanced information presentation, such as flashing lights, is necessary for the deaf and hard of hearing community.


    Building relationships with public health departments is essential for effective disaster preparedness and recovery.


    The arts play a significant role in community recovery, and funding opportunities are available for arts organizations.


    Lessons learned from past incidents, such as the Route 91 incident, can inform future emergency management strategies.


    Collaboration and pre-planning are essential for ensuring the safety and success of mass gatherings.


    Ingress and egress planning, as well as decision points for event cancellation, are crucial considerations for emergency preparedness.


    Working with local arts and culture organizations and engaging with the community can help identify gaps in planning and enhance preparedness efforts.


    Emergency managers should consider possibilities rather than just probabilities when planning for potential risks and disasters.


    Including people with disabilities in the planning process is essential for ensuring their safety and accessibility during mass gatherings. Integration between standard alerting platforms and deaf and hard of hearing notification systems is crucial for inclusive alerting systems.


    Communication and collaboration between emergency management, public health departments, and the arts community are essential in disaster preparedness and recovery.


    The arts play a significant role in community recovery, including arts therapy and fundraising initiatives.


    Resilience building and crisis communications are important in the arts and cultural sector.

    • 1 min
    Route 91 Festival Survivor and Santa Barbara's Emergency Manager Kelly Hubbard

    Route 91 Festival Survivor and Santa Barbara's Emergency Manager Kelly Hubbard

    Episode Website with additional resources



    Summary

    In this episode, the hosts Matthew Ché Kowal and Tom Clareson interview Kelly Hubbard, the director for the Office of Emergency Management for the County of Santa Barbara. They discuss the commonalities between different types of mass gatherings, such as festivals, protests, and housing after disasters. They also explore the importance of ingress and egress planning, decision points for event cancellation, and collaboration between emergency managers and arts and culture organizations. Additionally, they highlight the need to consider both probabilities and possibilities in emergency planning and the inclusion of people with disabilities in emergency preparedness efforts. In this conversation, Kelly Hubbard discusses various aspects of emergency management and community resilience. She emphasizes the importance of improving communication and alert systems to ensure that everyone receives timely information during emergencies. Kelly also highlights the need for 

    enhanced information presentation for the deaf and hard of hearing, suggesting the use of technology such as flashing lights. Building relationships with public health departments is another crucial aspect of disaster preparedness and recovery. The role of arts in community recovery is explored, including the use of arts therapy and the availability of funding for arts organizations. Kelly shares lessons learned from the Route 91 incident and emphasizes the importance of preparing for pop-up events and considering first aid considerations. Finally, she discusses the blending of her passion for music and emergency management.

    *audio note: this was our first recording using our online service and it's not as pristine as you will find the other episodes, but well worth the listen!"

    Takeaways


    Improving communication and alert systems is crucial for ensuring that everyone receives timely information during emergencies.


    Enhanced information presentation, such as flashing lights, is necessary for the deaf and hard of hearing community.


    Building relationships with public health departments is essential for effective disaster preparedness and recovery.


    The arts play a significant role in community recovery, and funding opportunities are available for arts organizations.


    Lessons learned from past incidents, such as the Route 91 incident, can inform future emergency management strategies.


    Collaboration and pre-planning are essential for ensuring the safety and success of mass gatherings.


    Ingress and egress planning, as well as decision points for event cancellation, are crucial considerations for emergency preparedness.


    Working with local arts and culture organizations and engaging with the community can help identify gaps in planning and enhance preparedness efforts.


    Emergency managers should consider possibilities rather than just probabilities when planning for potential risks and disasters.


    Including people with disabilities in the planning process is essential for ensuring their safety and accessibility during mass gatherings. Integration between standard alerting platforms and deaf and hard of hearing notification systems is crucial for inclusive alerting systems.


    Communication and collaboration between emergency management, public health departments, and the arts community are essential in disaster preparedness and recovery.


    The arts play a significant role in community recovery, including arts therapy and fundraising initiatives.


    Resilience building and crisis communications are important in the arts and cultural sector.

    • 53 min
    Using Festivals as Emergency Preparedness Classrooms : A Walk-and-Talk about the Art of Mass Gatherings

    Using Festivals as Emergency Preparedness Classrooms : A Walk-and-Talk about the Art of Mass Gatherings

    Summary

    The Art of Mass Gatherings podcast explores the intersection of festivals and community resilience, focusing on climate and disaster preparedness. The podcast features dialogues with event producers and emergency experts, emphasizing the four pillars of resilient gathering: safety, sustainability, accessibility, and community engagement. 

    In this episode, Matthew Ché Kowal, co-founder of Majestic Collaborations, discusses the origins of the Art of Mass Gatherings and its connection to his experiences at Standing Rock. He and Bertrand Evans-Taylor– an arts advocate, arts administrator, and event producer– explore the role of cultural traditions and festivals as platforms for social change and community preparedness. The conversation touches on topics such as self-regulation, workforce development, and the integration of arts and emergency preparedness. It emphasizes the portability of self and culture, and the value of community resilience. 

    This episode also investigates the role of festivals as classrooms for preparedness and the unique approach of the Four Pillars Audit. The conversation highlights the power of art in activating new ways of understanding and knowing, and the importance of empathy and mutual aid in event planning.

    Episode Website with pictures, transcripts and other great resources

    Takeaways


    Festivals and cultural traditions can serve as platforms for social change and community preparedness.


    The Art of Mass Gatherings podcast focuses on the four pillars of resilient gathering: safety, sustainability, accessibility, and community engagement.


    Self-regulation and co-regulation are important concepts in creating a safe and inclusive environment at mass gatherings.


    Workforce development in the arts and emergency management sectors can lead to cross-training and collaboration.


    Artists possess valuable skills in divergent thinking and adaptability, which are crucial in disaster situations.


    Festivals can be used as classrooms for practicing and preparing for emergency scenarios.


    Community trust is a valuable asset for festivals, as attendees rely on organizers to prioritize safety and problem-solving.


    The integration of arts and emergency preparedness can lead to cultural change and community resilience. Preserving cultural events is essential for maintaining cultural identity and community cohesion.


    Cities should invest in cultural assets and preparedness to protect and support their communities.


    Festivals can serve as classrooms for preparedness and community resilience.


    The Four Pillars Audit offers a unique approach to event planning, considering safety, sustainability, accessibility, and community engagement.


    Art has the power to activate new ways of understanding and knowing.


    Empathy and mutual aid are crucial in event planning and community building.



    Keywordsfestivals, community resilience, climate preparedness, disaster preparedness, event producers, emergency experts, safety, sustainability, accessibility, community engagement, cultural traditions, social change, workforce development, arts, emergency preparedness, cultural events, preservation, investment, portability of self, portability of culture, community resilience, festivals as classrooms, Four Pillars Audit, art, empathy, mutual aid

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Emma Stuart - Crowds, Civil Disruptions, Climate Change

    Emma Stuart - Crowds, Civil Disruptions, Climate Change

    Summary



    In this episode, Matthew Kowal and Tom Clareson interview Emma Stuart, an experienced event and operations manager. They discuss the challenges of crowd behavior and disruptions at events, including the changing dynamics post-COVID. They also explore case studies of incidents at a Spanish theater and a Travis Scott concert. The importance of collaboration, planning, and training for staff is emphasized, as well as the need for preparedness in handling potential threats. The episode highlights the unique nature of festivals and events and the importance of creating safe and enjoyable experiences for attendees. The conversation explores the importance of having plans in place for mass gatherings and the lessons learned from past incidents. It highlights the concept of Zone X and the technological advantages in managing crowds. The discussion emphasizes the need to practice for handling mass gatherings and the value of building relationships with emergency responders. It also delves into preparing for civil unrest and the importance of collaboration and mutual aid. The conversation touches on protecting the audience, communicating effectively, and centering accessibility and functional needs. It concludes with the significance of fresh eyes on plans and engaging staff with emergency plans.



    Find supplementary materials, links, pictures, and more at The Episode Website https://theartofmassgatherings.com/episode/emma-stuart-s1e1/



    Chapters



    00:00 Introduction

    01:49 Meeting Tom Clareson

    02:28 Emma Stewart's Experience

    06:18 Adapting to Post-COVID Crowd Behavior

    08:07 Challenges of Dealing with Disruptive Behavior

    09:56 Increasing Expectations of Event Experiences

    13:48 Case Studies: Spanish Theater and Travis Scott Concert

    21:15 Lessons from Unique and Unusual Events

    22:36 Preparing for Civil Unrest

    25:52 Preparing for Civil Unrest (continued)

    28:37 Centering Accessibility and Functional Needs

    33:34 Preparing for Civil Unrest in Election Years

    44:28 Centering Accessibility and Functional Needs (continued)

    49:05 Top Concerns and Tips for 2024

    52:13 Engaging Staff in Emergency Plans

    • 52 min

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