The main role of a traffic marshal is to ensure the smooth movement of traffic throughout the site and to direct vehicles towards their allocated areas and/or parking spaces.
Traffic marshals need to remain vigilant throughout the site to ensure the security of vehicles and report any suspicious behaviour or security risks to a supervisor.
The requirements of each event are different and you may be required to work in one of a number of different roles, such as a car parker, a ‘pointer’, manning an external gate or a static position. Some of the more common traffic roles and positions are listed below:
- Main Entrance/s
Staff can be required to check passes/tickets, to split and direct traffic towards allocated areas i.e. weekend parking, backstage, disabled parking, traders areas and so on. There are usually a variety of staff based on the main entrance/s including stewards, traffic marshals, security, police officers, and traffic wardens.
- Day car park
The day car park can be on or off-site. The main role in the day car park is to keep the traffic moving freely, and to park the vehicles as tidily as possible. The day car park almost always fills up each day, then empties at the end of the day. It is important to keep weekend vehicles out of the day car park. If weekend vehicles are allowed into the day car park, once the day car park has emptied it is harder to manage the following day with weekend vehicles randomly parked around the fields. Specific day parking passes may be required to access the day car park. There are usually a variety of staff based in and around the day car park including stewards, traffic marshals, security, and police officers.
- Weekend car park
There can be many weekend car parks, both on and off-site. The main role in the weekend car park is to keep the traffic moving freely, and to park the vehicles as tidily as possible. It is important to keep day vehicles out of the weekend car park. If day vehicles are allowed into the weekend car park it may be difficult for them to exit, as they may need to travel against the flow of traffic. Additionally the spaces they leave behind are difficult to fill, this uses up extra space and may lead to problems fitting all cars into the allotted area. Specific weekend parking passes may be required to access the weekend car park. There are usually a variety of staff based in and around the weekend car park including stewards, traffic marshals, security, and police officers.
Managing vehicle movement in and around the production and backstage areas is always tricky. All sorts of vehicles come and go in this area including tour buses, site and stage vehicles, press, and production vehicles. All vehicles need to be checked on entry for valid passes and directed to the correct areas. Vehicles which require parking need to be kept well out of the way of access points, some will need to be directed towards a backstage car park and others such as tour buses or TV broadcast trucks may have particular spaces allocated. Staff, artists and guests are constantly moving around within the backstage area, this makes managing the vehicle movement in these areas even trickier and more important.
- Accessible/disabled parking
The main role in the accessible car park is to keep the traffic moving freely and to park the vehicles as tidily as possible while bearing in mind any access requirements. It is important to keep any unauthorised vehicles out of the accessible/disabled car park due to the location of these car parks usually being closer to the event site - staff and non-disabled members of the public may often try to gain access, taking spaces from those that need them. Specific disabled parking passes may be required to access the disabled car park.
- Trader entrances
There may be specific trader entrances to the site and the arena. Traders are sometimes only allowed to move vehicles between specific times, although this may depend on the size and nature of the event. A member of the event production staff usually manages traders within the arena, allocating places at the beginning of the event and escorting them in and out of the arena to make deliveries throughout the course of the event. Managing a trader access gate or escorting traders within an event site is a difficult role, as more often than not the traders will have goods which they would like to get to their stalls ASAP. Drivers should be reminded whenever possible that safety comes before profit.
For events where guests are able camp onsite there are usually one or more designated campervan areas which are manned by campervan marshals. The main role in the campervan areas is to park the campervans as tidily as possible, ensuring fire lanes are well maintained, and also to provide stewarding duties in order to stop the campervans moving around once parked. It is important to keep out any vehicles which should not be in the campervan area, and also to keep a check on those that should be, for example monitoring the number of tents they may erect next to their campervan and additional space they may use, as well as assisting with any queries and issues that may arise. Specific campervan parking passes are almost always required to access the campervan area. There are usually a variety of staff based in and around the weekend car park including stewards, traffic marshals, security, and police officers.
In certain situations you may be involved in the implementation of a one-way or contraflow system. This may involve holding traffic and communicating via radio with other traffic marshals to ensure the route is clear prior to sending vehicles. This is often a very important role to ensure smooth movement of traffic through the event site – getting it wrong could mean vehicles meeting head-on in a narrow single track lane! You may also on occasion be required to control the flow of traffic using other means, such as operating manual traffic lights.
For all traffic staff, there are certain issues which you must remain aware of at all times:
Sterile areas, areas which should be kept free of vehicles.
The car park is often a large field which can become slippery, especially when wet. Staff need to ensure that vehicles maintain movement but within the speed limit.
Speeding vehicles are to be requested to slow down.
Unauthorised parking needs to be kept to a minimum by being vigilant and informing drivers that their vehicle will be moved. Unattended vehicles will need to be reported to your team leader.
Any one-way systems, sometimes these are reversed at the end of each show day.
Movement of pedestrians. It is important to encourage public leaving their cars away from the flow of traffic and be vigilant of pedestrian movement when directing vehicles.
Fires / BBQs are not permitted within car parks.
In the event of a major incident there are often procedures in place to ensure emergency access. You must be aware of these procedures – ask your team leader if you’re not sure.