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Mojo Barriers

A History Of Stage Barriers


Towards the end of the 1980’s, events and concerts were becoming increasingly larger and more frequent. This highlighted a need for a solution to keep audiences at a safe distance from stages and other temporary structures within the event sites.

At the time, crowd control barriers were used as the standard method. However, these systems were proving to be increasingly inadequate. A solution was to build triangular structures behind the barrier line out of the same barriers, to add some stability. Also, flight cases were sometimes placed on stage side of the barrier to provide a working platform for security and medical personnel.

All of these ideas, although creative, were inadequate for the purpose.

The next solution was to incorporate the stage barrier into the staging. This was achieved by building an A-Frame barrier line out of scaffolding, then bracing it back against the staging structure. The front audience side of the structure was covered in plywood and the back framed and decked in plywood to provide a working platform. This was a time consuming exercise that was difficult to finish in a safe and secure way for the audience. There was a risk of splinters from the wood, trapping from the lack of an audience footplate and cuts from the scaffolding fittings.

A permanent solution was needed.

Dutchman, John Mulder, who was working for Mojo Concerts, recognised the problem and started to work on a resolution for the problem. He created what is now known as The Mojo Barrier system.

Initially, the barrier was made to use at Mojo Concerts own shows, but very soon touring bands discovered the product and enquired about using it at their other shows. This eventually led to them taking the system on tour. A new business was born.

Simultaneously, a company called Pitstop Barriers had designed a stage barrier system in England. Jim Gaffney , who came from security and engineering background, founded Pitstop. They became market leaders in the UK, and specialised in festivals, green field sites and stadiums.

In 2005, Mojo Barriers purchased Pitsop Barriers, and the already operating Mojo Barriers UK office was rapidly expanded. The company has continued to develop and evolve what is essentially the only part of an event that has physical contact with the audience. Its importance cannot be over emphasised.

The Stage Barrier Principle

The basic principle of a stage barrier is simple. There is a footplate, which is on the audience side of the barrier. The audience stand on it.

There is an upright, which is usually perforated sheet for acoustic reasons.

On the rear (stage side) of the barrier there should be a working platform or steps for the working personnel.

It is all connected together with an “A Frame “ chassis, consisting of a welded floor framework, a welded upright framework and two diagonal braces from the back of the upright to the floor. The perforated sheet in the upright should only have small holes to avoid fingers getting caught. Or anything else for that matter!

A stage barrier from a reputable company will withstand a substantial amount of pressure when in use.

The weight of the audience on the footplate is what stabilises a system.

All systems should have a load test certificate.

When in place, a stage barrier should have any movement removed by a correct build procedure, even on uneven ground. Sections should have location pins and bolts for joining to the next section.

Curved barriers are built to disperse crowd energy throughout the system and avoid point loading.

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Article Info

Jim Gaffney
Stage Barriers
9th March 2009
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