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Flash@TMB

Venue Capacities

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It was recently pointed out to me that there are serous discrepancies in the capacities claimed by several local venues. Fortunately the forthcoming licensing law requires that all capacities must be calculated by an architect and shown on the plans that accompany the premises application. This is complicated, but as a rough guide it equates to 1/2 square meter for every person standing. This means that the real capacities are now a matter of public record. Doubtless this will do nothing to prevent venues from overstating their capacity on their web pages etc. In most cases capacities are overstated by around +50% - seriously.

For a venue with a rectangular footprint to have a capacity of 300 it would need to encompass 150 square meters of standing room (not including it's stage or the area behind it's bar). So in the event that said venue was 20m long (the furthest permitted distance between fire escapes) then it would need to be on average 7.5m wide throughout. For Comparison the Moorings is 23m to the stage and an average of 4.3m wide (over 5m wide on the dancefloor, shrinking to 4m wide for the length of the bar, then widening out by the front door).

Of course if a venue has multiple disconnected rooms then it could bend the truth by adding these capacities together... but that doesn't really give an indication of how many people could watch one band - does it?

Should The Moorings start claiming a capacity of 300-350 or should I just raise this issue with the council?

Amusingly one venue which claims to hold 100 people more than we do, actually holds 45 people less.

Thoughts anyone?

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It was recently pointed out to me that there are serous discrepancies in the capacities claimed by several local venues. Fortunately the forthcoming licensing law requires that all capacities must be calculated by an architect and shown on the plans that accompany the premises application. This is complicated, but as a rough guide it equates to 1/2 square meter for every person standing. This means that the real capacities are now a matter of public record. Doubtless this will do nothing to prevent venues from overstating their capacity on their web pages etc. In most cases capacities are overstated by around +50% - seriously.

For a venue with a rectangular footprint to have a capacity of 300 it would need to encompass 150 square meters of standing room (not including it's stage or the area behind it's bar). So in the event that said venue was 20m long (the furthest permitted distance between fire escapes) then it would need to be on average 7.5m wide throughout. For Comparison the Moorings is 23m to the stage and an average of 4.3m wide (over 5m wide on the dancefloor, shrinking to 4m wide for the length of the bar, then widening out by the front door).

Of course if a venue has multiple disconnected rooms then it could bend the truth by adding these capacities together... but that doesn't really give an indication of how many people could watch one band - does it?

Should The Moorings start claiming a capacity of 300-350 or should I just raise this issue with the council?

Amusingly one venue which claims to hold 100 people more than we do, actually holds 45 people less.

Thoughts anyone?

If they're adding capacities together, it's not really that bad, given that the venue might be hosting events where the stage isn't a focal point - clubnights, private functions, etc. As long as venues aren't cramming in people to the point where it's dangerous, I don't really care.

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Guest idol_wild

So is your problem, Flash, that you feel other venues use capacity as a selling point?

Because personally, I think the smaller and more intimate the venue, the better...

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I'd look forward to seeing The Market Bar in Inverness's official capacity!

Fantastic place for a gig; love it :)

officially the best gig dedalus ever played. rob kept being moved aside by punters going to the toilet. amazing fun.

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I'm not inferring that venues are packing in people over and above their fire capacities. Most venues have trouble filling the place with punters at the best of times... Not this is more a promotional issue.

If a band is used to playing in England or the central belt then the catchment areas there are much bigger than in Aberdeen due to population density. Bands coming up North are usually unaware of how sparse the population is up here and may therefore anticipate requiring a larger venue (unless they've done their homework).

What pisses me off, is when a band is duped into playing a smaller venue because that venue claims to have a significantly higher capacity than is actually the case.

IMOI two important factors when sizing and selecting an appropriate venue are:

1) Max number of punters anticipated, in most cases this will be lower in Aberdeen than it would be in Glasgow (unless the band has a huge Aberdeen following for some reason).

2) The venues draw. This is the average attendance at gigs for a particular venue. I heard of one instance where a band packed out a small venue, then reached new heights of popularity and booked a venue more than double the size only to play to less than a one third the number of people.

So personally I would prefer if all venues were forced by law to state their true capacities, as opposed to telling the licensing board one thing and the rest of the world another.

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I think the half a square meter per person thing has been stretched beyond belief in some venues. The Go! Team gig at Moshulu was hellishly crowded, getting from one side of the room to another was a nightmare. Is comfort taken into account when calculating capacity?

What would The Moorings' 'official' capacity be? And what do you reckon you can get in there?

I seem to remember some punter getting arsey at The Lemon Tree a few years ago because he'd heard our capacity was around 650 and there were only 600 tickets on sale (I think it was Alabama 3 or something, it sold out and was complete madness). Trying to explain to him that it was for fire safety reasons and we also had to count the staff, band and crew in the overall total was pointless.

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I think the half a square meter per person thing has been stretched beyond belief in some venues. The Go! Team gig at Moshulu was hellishly crowded, getting from one side of the room to another was a nightmare. Is comfort taken into account when calculating capacity?

What would The Moorings' 'official' capacity be? And what do you reckon you can get in there?

I seem to remember some punter getting arsey at The Lemon Tree a few years ago because he'd heard our capacity was around 650 and there were only 600 tickets on sale (I think it was Alabama 3 or something, it sold out and was complete madness). Trying to explain to him that it was for fire safety reasons and we also had to count the staff, band and crew in the overall total was pointless.

While it may be possible to pack in more than 1 person per 50cm2 it's not really workable, so in most cases the fire capacity is the max capacity unless you're trying to get into the Guinness Book of Records! Most people would be experiencing moderate discomfort as a venue approached it's fire capacity.

Until recently our capacity was 178 but that has recently increased as we are in the process of altering the room and the layout of the seating. Once that work is complete we'll need to do the calculations again, but I'd estimate that it will end up around 190-200, say 195 as a guess.

If we play by the same *COUGH* marketing rules/formula as certain other venues then we'd be claiming 325.

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While it may be possible to pack in more than 1 person per 50cm2 it's not really workable, so in most cases the fire capacity is the max capacity unless you're trying to get into the Guinness Book of Records! Most people would be experiencing moderate discomfort as a venue approached it's fire capacity.

Until recently our capacity was 178 but that has recently increased as we are in the process of altering the room and the layout of the seating. Once that work is complete we'll need to do the calculations again, but I'd estimate that it will end up around 190-200, say 195 as a guess.

If we play by the same *COUGH* marketing rules/formula as certain other venues then we'd be claiming 325.

EDIT: "While it may be possible to pack in more than 1 person per 50cm2"

should read - "While it may be possible to pack in more than 1 person per 1/2m2."

Schoolboy error, but I was in a rush. 50cm2 is 1/4 of a square meter.

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I think the half a square meter per person thing has been stretched beyond belief in some venues. The Go! Team gig at Moshulu was hellishly crowded, getting from one side of the room to another was a nightmare. Is comfort taken into account when calculating capacity?

I agree. It was crazy there, I was near the front and my dancing was restricted and when I did throw some shapes, people got annoyed.

Karma being as it is, I tore my intercostal muscle at that gig falling onto a crowd barrier after some wicked crowd surfing

I didn't mean to hijack

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While it may be possible to pack in more than 1 person per 50cm2 it's not really workable, so in most cases the fire capacity is the max capacity unless you're trying to get into the Guinness Book of Records! Most people would be experiencing moderate discomfort as a venue approached it's fire capacity.

Until recently our capacity was 178 but that has recently increased as we are in the process of altering the room and the layout of the seating. Once that work is complete we'll need to do the calculations again, but I'd estimate that it will end up around 190-200, say 195 as a guess.

If we play by the same *COUGH* marketing rules/formula as certain other venues then we'd be claiming 325.

Jesus, the Moorings gets warm enough on a normal night let alone if there were 325 folk crammed in there. Seems pretty suspect, worth investigating.

The Go! Team was a cracking night, but dancing was a bit of a mission.

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Jesus, the Moorings gets warm enough on a normal night let alone if there were 325 folk crammed in there. Seems pretty suspect, worth investigating.

The Go! Team was a cracking night, but dancing was a bit of a mission.

Not sure but suspect you might have misunderstood. We have no intention of ever breaching our fire capacity, and I'm pretty sure that other venues don't breach theirs either, for starters it's not really possible to cram in more people than that, and secondly because if anything went wrong then we'd go to jail for a very long time.

The issue I have is where venues promo material falsely states that it has a much higher capacity. The inability of the average punter to comprehend how many people there are at a packed gig, and the tendency for people to exaggerate compounds this.

For example if a venue claims to hold 300 people, and the room is clearly at capacity then people who were there will tell you "yeah there were 300 people at that gig", when in fact the chances are that there were really only 160...

The reason for misrepresenting capacity is that bigger is often perceived to be better. When bands decide on a venue they will often optimistically calculate the maximum split to be a percentage of a capacity crowd multiplied by the proposed door charge/ticket price, thus making a venue that overstates it's capacity to appear more attractive. This leaves us with a nasty dilemma - do we continue to state the true capacity, or to claim one that is 60% higher? Regardless, the reality will never exceed the fire capacity.

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