Cable Management: How to Choose Cable Protectors for Large-Scale Events and Gatherings

Large scale concert with lots of people in audience
Large scale concert with lots of people in audienceLarge scale concert with lots of people in audience

Events or places hosting large-scale gatherings, such as concerts, sports contests, conferences, weddings, music and beer festivals, conventions, and amusement parks–where crowds convene– often require miles of electrical cords, extension cords, wires, and cables.

Depending on the event and the venue, these conduits are utilized for public address, sound systems, microphones, instruments, lighting, jumbotrons, scoreboards, temperature control, public safety, telecommunications, and special effects, like pyrotechnics.

Some of the cables and wires remain in place permanently, while others are assembled specifically for an event or competition. For example, Levi’s® Stadium, which hosts major sports championships, rock concerts, and automotive events in the San Francisco Bay Area, uses 400 miles of data cable within the venue, 70 miles of which is just to support Wi-Fi. A temporary concert tour at a large stadium can take days to set up, with the complex sound and lighting systems used today, and hundreds of workers may be involved in laying floor cables that take multiple semi-trucks to transport.

For event planners and venue owners, safeguarding power and telecom conduits with cord protectors becomes a critical necessity to ensuring uninterrupted power supply, maintaining safety standards, and minimizing potential hazards. Without protecting cords, cables, and wires, the risk of sound issues, delays, and failed stage effects is higher. Even worse, concert halls, arenas, and event organizers leave themselves open to PR nightmares and costly lawsuits if a performance doesn’t go as planned or if an attendee is injured.

Understanding the pivotal role cable concealers play will guide you towards making informed choices for your event or venue needs.

Understanding the Different Levels for Protecting Cables

There are three basic levels of cable protection:

  • Light
  • Medium
  • Heavy

Typically, light-weight drop-over cord covers are used for professional and home office or home theater cord protection, while their heavier counterparts are employed for commercial use in high-demand settings.

At large-scale events, with substantial foot and vehicle traffic, heavy-duty cable covers are the way to go. This is especially important for vehicle traffic, as the weight of vehicles can produce premature wear and tear on your cables, wires, and cords if they’re not adequately covered.

What makes a cable protector “heavy-duty?” It’s the cover’s load capacity that determines its label. Load capacity is in turn affected by:

  • The number of individual channels inside the cable sleeve, each channel housing one cord or wire.
  • The height and width of the channels.
  • The thickness of the ribs that make up the construction of the channels.
  • The thickness of the top of the cable protector.
Heavy bus drives over cable protector on groundHeavy bus drives over cable protector on ground

Sometimes steel inserts are used inside cable cover channels to increase their load capacity. If you think of a cable cover like a bridge running over perpendicular roadways below, load capacity makes sense. The bridge needs to support the weight of vehicles driving over it, without collapsing onto the roads beneath.

Not all cable hiders have to be heavy-duty, though. You may have areas where medium- or light-duty covers are appropriate. For instance, you might use medium-duty protectors in staff-only areas with less traffic.

ADA Cable Protectors

 ADA cable protectors at carnival ADA cable protectors at carnival

It’s important to remember that most public spaces, including large-scale events, must be accessible to all. This means complying with regulations outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act, also known as the ADA.

How does the ADA affect cable protectors? Standard cable protectors can have an abrupt incline that isn’t passable by people in a wheelchair. Others might trip and fall after stumbling on a cable cover. Neglecting ADA standards and regulations at events can expose you to potential liability lawsuits or discrimination claims.

Luckily, there’s an easy solution to ensure your events are compliant even when you need to hide cords: ADA cable protector ramps. These low-profile covers follow ADA guidelines for all ramps, which state that slopes may not be steeper than 1:12, or one inch of rise for every 12 inches of run.

You can blend ADA cable protectors with standard ones to create designated areas for smoother cord crossings, catering to those requiring easier access.

Special Considerations for Major Events

In addition to using heavy-duty cable protectors that comply with ADA standards, what else should you think about for the best cable management at large-scale events and gatherings?

You’ll need to consider the space and layout. Large events often span extensive areas–sometimes both indoors and outdoors– with varying foot traffic and equipment movement.

Checkers Advanced Modular System cable protectors in use at concertCheckers Advanced Modular System cable protectors in use at concert

Choosing cable protectors that cover the entirety of these spaces ensures comprehensive protection for both cables and attendees. Fortunately, there are various connectors that can extend cable protection to any desired length, whether you’re in a conventional football stadium or a more unique venue like Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, with its 8,700 seats that span 2.5 miles in length.

The configuration of the venue matters, as cable placement is based on available power sources, which have a limited amount of amperage (current capacity). As an event planner or host, you may wind up running power cords, for instance, quite some distance if there is no electrical outlet nearby. Or, you may have cords coming from many different directions if you need to split up the power supply across multiple receptacles. While it’s ideal to run these cords through an audience-free zone, it may not always be possible.

Those cords must be protected along their entire length, in order to: a) ensure the function and longevity of the equipment; b) prevent electric shock potential; and c) eliminate tripping hazards for attendees, employees, and performers or athletes.

If the event is held outdoors, there is yet another consideration, which is protection from inclement weather. The right cord hider will not only safeguard cords and cables from precipitation, it will also provide traction with a slip-resistant surface to reduce pedestrian accidents.

The Advanced Modular System (AMS) provides virtually unlimited possibilities when connecting cable protectors in different directions. This system offers the flexibility to integrate ADA-compliant protectors, so you can easily switch out ADA components when they're not required and replace them with standard covers as needed.

For increased flexibility, check out the ADA Ramp and Rail System. You can use this to add ADA rails and ramps to standard covers.

Checkers QuickHooks help with overhead cable managementCheckers QuickHooks help with overhead cable management

Other accessories include overhead hanging cable protectors — hooks to use when cables can’t run along the ground. These are great to purchase in bulk to organize cords and keep them locked in place over walls and fences at events. They also prevent tripping accidents and wear-and-tear from foot and vehicle traffic. 

Checkers Has Floor Cord Covers for All Your Events

Cable protectors are vital to safeguard power cords, wires, and hoses at large-scale events.

If you need assistance with compliance or help configuring the number of cable or wire covers you’ll need, contact the Checkers team. We can guide you in selecting the best cable covers for your unique needs.