Weather monitoring: measuring wind at a festival site

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A violent storm can destroy a lot, unfortunately that damage isn't always just material. It has been a decade now, but the ‘Pukkelpop storm’ brought about a major change in weather monitoring at festivals in the Low Countries.

Safety regulations were adapted and tightened: measuring wind at a festival site is now mandatory, making weather monitoring at festivals much more common. The festival wind meter has become a synonym for safety and preparedness at events and festivals.

Why do festivals need weather monitoring?

Besides wind measurement, there are actually many other reasons why a festival can benefit from weather measurements. With a weather station, you can measure the following on a festival site: wind direction, wind speed, rain, temperature and relative humidity. A weather sensor helps you ensure safety in stormy weather or map whether noise pollution might occur. You can also keep an eye on the temperature in extreme heat or monitor how much rain is going to fall. Even fire shows can be made safer if you know how the wind is blowing during the show.

Safety in stormy weather

A general weather forecast is often not precise and accurate enough for festival management to make timely decisions, especially since storms can arise very suddenly, quickly, and very locally.

For structures of 12 metres tall or more, stricter safety standards now apply to festivals. As a result, wind measurement and weather monitoring are now required by security services. It is important that stage builders provide festivals with clear explanations on what wind speeds a structure can handle and when intervention would be required.

wind monitoring festival tent

Structures such as large stages and tents often do reach 12 metres or higher. Take the stage of the Lokerse Feesten for example, which is 12 metres high and 18 metres wide. Such a construction obviously catches wind during a violent storm.

We interviewed Johan De Vreese of the Lokerse Feesten, who told us how his organisation ensures a safe festival:

"Our stage is 12 m by 18 m and faces southwest with its open side. When a heavy storm arises in summer, it almost always comes from a southwestern direction. When the wind blows into the open side of the stage, it is actually blown away like a sail/balloon.

This makes it extra important for us to keep an eye on how the weather develops on a short distance from our venue. This is why we place a festival wind meter6 to 7 km west and south of our grounds.

With these two weather stations, we can gain 3 minutes if a storm front moves in. In this time, we can make decisions and take safety measures to protect our people."

To prevent a stage from blowing away or collapsing, it can help to remove covers in time and lower sound systems or light installations to distribute the weight of a stage differently. For this, weather monitoring at festivals should be used.

In addition to collapse risks at stages or tents, there is also the risk of decoration coming loose. In August 2022 for example, decoration blew away from a stage at a festival in Spain, killing one person.

Noise pollution due to wind direction

Governments (especially at local level) want to limit noise pollution. Besides dB measurements, wind direction must also be taken into account. Depending on how the wind is blowing, noise can be spread much further. This must be taken into account in terms of volume. The height at which speakers are mounted also affects how far the sound waves reach.

The more complaints there are by local residents about your festival, the more difficult it is to organise new editions. By measuring wind direction and wind speed yourself, a festival can prevent noise nuisance for local residents. Measuring wind at a festival would therefore not go amiss.

festival weather monitoring

Safety in extreme heat

Our summers are not only getting drier, but also hotter. This makes it important to give festival visitors extra protection from the scorching sun. Overheating, sunstroke, sunburn and dehydration can occur quickly and are actually quite easy to prevent with weather monitoring at festivals.

With a weather station at your festival site, you measure temperature in addition to wind and rain. This allows you to better monitor whether it is necessary to install extra water taps, shaded areas or, for example, hand out sunscreen. You can always choose to install a sensor to measure sunlight intensity, this is called a pyranometer.

Safety during pyrotechnics

Some festivals (or rather certain bands) are known for their lavish use of pyrotechnics or fireworks during performances. When there are strong winds, it can be dangerous to allow a fire show to continue.

Fire, sparks, smoke or pieces of fireworks themselves could otherwise blow away and end up in the wrong places. For example, think of flammable decoration, stalls or, in the worst case, on people themselves. This can cause a lot of damage, from fire to burns or chaos and panic in the crowd.

A festival wind meter is also particularly relevant for this. This is because it can measure whether it is safe to use the planned fireworks, or whether an alternative to the fire show should be used.

rain at a festival

Preventing hypothermia when it rains

If festival-goers are not prepared for a heavy downpour and therefore do not bring protective clothing, they should be given the chance to take shelter in time. Weather monitoring at festivals helps provide this timely warning. Wet, rained-out people who cannot dry up again quickly enough, are at risk of falling ill and becoming hypothermic. As an organisation, it is extremely valuable to be able to give a warning before the downpour reaches the site.

In addition, it is also useful for an organisation to have ponchos on hand to hand out when a shower is imminent. Of course, it is a waste to hand these out for nothing. But with a weather station with a rain sensor several km away from the site, you can monitor much more accurately whether a shower will actually reach the festival.

Safety in case of mud

After a downpour, a festival site car park or campsite can quickly turn into a mud bath. Take the muddy camping and parking sites of Graspop Metal Meeting 2024 for example. For this too, using a weather station with rain sensor is very useful to know when rain is coming. With just a few minutes extra time, extra road plates can be placed or other measures can be taken. Several festivals already do 'rain management' these days.

monitor wind at a festival

An accessible weather station as an ideal festival wind meter

If you, as a festival organiser, want to carry out your own wind measurements and weather monitoring at your event, you need a simple way to do this. With an all-in-one weather sensor, you can easily monitor the weather at your festival. Rain, temperature, relative humidity, wind direction and wind speed can be monitored live. Even when you decide to hire a professional weather monitoring crew like MeteoSupport, live and local weather data is still more than relevant.

The Crodeon weather station allows you to remotely measure and monitor the above parameters. You can even receive live alarm notifications when you enable this setting. This way, you will be alerted if the wind speed exceeds a certain level or if rain suddenly occurs. Weather monitoring at festivals becomes a breeze.


How to make measuring wind at a festival and data management a 'piece of cake'

The Crodeon weather station works through our sensor module called 'Reporter'. Reporter was designed and developed to be extremely user-friendly. This makes it easy for almost anyone to use, even if you have no technical background at all.

Reporter has four sensor connectors to connect the weather sensor and three other sensors of your choice to. Think multiple weather sensors, an extra wind sensor, or a pyranometer. All data measurements happen in real-time and are streamed directly to the cloud to be saved. This data transfer uses the cellular data network (2G/4G). Thus, hosting your own local network is not needed.

A festival wind meter must be installed correctly to measure correctly. Install the weather station and plug & play sensor module for remote monitoring as follows:

  1. Install the weather sensor in a place free of obstructions
  2. Hang Reporter in a place with a good signal
  3. Point the sensor's calibration arrow to the North
  4. Level the sensor
  5. Plug Reporter's plug into the wall socket or connect it to its solar panel
  6. Plug the sensor's connector into Reporter
  7. ... and watch your live data come rolling into the cloud platform (Crodeon Dashboard)

Voila, your weather station is ready to use! For complete instructions regarding installing a weather station, please refer to this page:

How to install a weather station
31/07/2023 - Jonathan Sercu

Lokerse Feesten

Image source: Lokerse Feesten

These festivals are already using the Crodeon weather station

The following satisfied customers already used the Crodeon weather station for wind measurements at their festival.

Lokerse Feesten

We spoke to Johan De Vreese (Lokerse Feesten board) about how they use Reporter and the Crodeon weather station to keep their festival safe.

"Reporter gives us detailed real-time data allowing us to accurately monitor weather trends close to the festival. This helps us better assess the situation and make the right choices in time."

They use local live data from the weather station combined with general weather forecasts to track the situation on the festival site as accurately as possible. When storms are predicted and actually move towards the festival, the wind meters will pick this up. Johan, along with other board members, will then have a few extra minutes of time to make important decisions.

"We are very satisfied with the Crodeon weather station with Reporter as weather monitoring at our festival. We experienced pleasant cooperation with very clear communication. The extraction of the weather data went well and smoothly."

A weather station with solar panel
02/02/2023 - Jonathan Sercu

Sunrise Festival

Sunrise Festival also enjoys using the Crodeon weather station to collect data on the weather during their festival. On the one hand for safety at the time itself, and on the other to be able to hand over the data to the relevant authorities later. In this way, they can easily pass on a report to prove that they have neatly complied with all the legislation around weather safety. Sunrise Festival also has structures of 12 m or taller, for which it is important that they measure wind at a festival. This is a requirement of their security services.

Are you our next satisfied customer?

Are you looking for a reliable festival wind meter to monitor at your event? Then don't hesitate to contact us for more information.

FAQ about weather monitoring at festivals

Why is it important to monitor the weather during a festival or event?

Weather monitoring at a festival is mainly intended to be able to react in time to a storm front approaching the festival. If you place a weather station several km from your site, you can save several minutes when making important decisions.

Not only for stormy weather is a wind measurement relevant. Wind force and wind speed also affect how far sound waves reach. By measuring these parameters yourself, you can better assess whether noise pollution may occur. Besides wind monitoring, a weather station is also ideally suited for detecting rain showers or measuring temperature. Think of our summers getting hotter and hotter.

What kind of equipment do you need to do wind measurements at an event?

To take wind measurements at an event, you need a wind sensor. Both wind direction and wind speed are recommended to keep an eye on. If you choose an all-in-one weather sensor, these two parameters will be measured anyway.

Besides the sensor itself, a sensor module is also needed (such as Reporter) to interpret the data and transmit it to an online platform. On this online platform (such as the Crodeon Dashboard), you can monitor the data live and download historical data for any wanted analyses.

Do you need a technical background to install weather monitoring at your festival yourself?

No, not at all! When you choose a Crodeon weather station with plug & play sensor module Reporter, installation is done in no time. All you have to do is find a suitable spot, mount the sensor and sensor module, plug in a few cables and voila! You're live!

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