Security guard at a festival: ‘Don’t just stand tough and look angry’

Festivals galore here in Brabant. Also this weekend you can go wild in several places, but that must of course be done safely. Fortunately, we have the security guards for that. Corné Manders (63) and Bas Handels (32) are security guards with more than 30 years of combined experience, including at festivals. They share their experiences and tips for festival visitors. “Every ten minutes are different.”

Written by

Rick Clausen

Corné Manders from the village of Zeeland rolled into it at a fairly late age, but has been a security guard for almost 25 years. In the meantime he has already performed at a lot of festivals, from the big ‘Paaspop’ to the local ‘Halfvasten’ in Zeeland. “I first worked in the catering industry. When a security guard was needed, that seemed like something to me. I’ve been doing defense sports since I was 17, which turned out to be very useful.”

“At festivals it’s different every ten minutes.”

That doesn’t mean he’s just there to deal some serious blows. “I like dealing with young people the most. You experience the best things. That starts with checking at the entrance. You come across everything, from deodorant to some weed here and there.”

Bas Handels, a security guard at a company in Valkenswaard, does not just deal with people. “You are very sporty, often outside and every day is different. But also for the tension. At festivals it is different every ten minutes.” In his 15 years as a security guard, he has already performed at festivals such as ‘Smèrig Koningsdag’, ‘Allies’ and ‘Karma Outdoor’.

“The action moments also make the profession beautiful and exciting.”

No shortage of stories. “During a check, I saw someone hiding something behind his back,” says Corné. “I felt a hard object. At first I pretended not to notice, so the guy kept walking. Afterwards we still worked him to the ground. And indeed, he had a gun with him. Those are the action moments that make the profession beautiful and exciting.”

They are not only important for checking, emphasizes Bas. “You can be very helpful, especially with first aid. There was once a festival-goer weighing 120 kilos who went into cardiac arrest in the front row. We had to lug him to the first aid with four men. Fortunately, he made it. “

“The older, experienced festival goers don’t really bother you.”

In their years as a security guard, they have seen a few things change. Especially the behavior of the somewhat ‘newer festival goers’ is striking. “You notice that the younger group can have less of each other,” says Bas.

Corne adds: “You don’t really have any problems with the older, experienced festival-goers. It is mainly the young people between 18 and 21 who couldn’t go out during corona. They are a lot more brutal. They don’t know how to behave well and have no respect. Sometimes you have to have a thick skin for that.”

To ensure that your festival experience is as pleasant as possible, the security guards give you some tips:

  • Leave the drugs at home. If you do use something, make sure it has been tested.
  • Go rested. Alcohol hits you harder when you’re tired.
  • Don’t underestimate it. A festival is exhausting, especially during the heat.
  • Be honest with security. Even if you used something. This way we can help earlier, which can make a big difference.
  • Bring a good vibe with you.

For the time being, the festival season is still in full swing and both security guards will still have plenty to do, but as a security guard you can have a great time. “It’s not just standing tough and looking angry. You can also participate in a nice dance,” concludes Bas.