Coventry University PhD student undertakes live music event safety study

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A PhD researcher from Coventry University has embarked on a groundbreaking study that seeks to fill a significant gap in research within security and events and ultimately aims to make the live music industry a safer environment.

Several independent venues and festivals have signed up to take part in the research being undertaken by KT Sonnen, who has almost two decades of experience in the security sector. She hopes the new study will provide actionable insights for the live music industry.
Sonnen said: “The research is exciting for me but it’s also exciting for the industry to have a crossover between what we’re doing operationally and being able to provide the academic back-up as well. 

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to take some of the lessons learned from the results and translate that into actionable best practice to ensure the attendees and workers are feeling as safe as possible during events. It will also provide a time-stamped benchmark of where the events industry is as a whole right now and will give future research something to build on.”

Sonnen’s research asks are people at large music events as safe as they think they are and are these concerns consistent across genre, size and type of event? Additional questions look at the expectation of security measure deployment and whether security knowledge/experience is a significant factor.

Sonnen continued: “It’s really nice to be able to contribute to the industry that I have worked in since 2007 as it has given me so much. I hope that the results I get will give an insight into not only how we can enhance safety measures, but how to improve attendee retention and improve employee satisfaction.”

The study gatheres the opinions of workers (both security and non-security roles) as well as attendees, involve contacting attendees well in advance of the event and collecting ground-level data at the time, rather than relying on memory and/or police records.

Sonnen studies at the university’s Research Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations. She is also a member of the UK Crowd Management Association (UKCMA) and the Global Crowd Management Alliance (GCMA) and was an editor on the recently released “Safer Crowds Safer Venues: Good Practice for Crowd Management in UK Performance and Licensed Spaces“.

The study welcomes a diverse range of music events that meet specific criteria, including being located in England, a capacity of 800 or more and a focus on music as the main attraction. Events of all genres, sizes and settings are encouraged to participate.

For more details or to arrange a conversation with Sonnen, email

Watch the introductory video to the study.