The management of alcohol consumption at public events is a important part of reducing alcohol-related harm.

Most large events appeared to pass with few or no alcohol-related problems. The exceptions were one of the horse-race meetings, a rugby league match and one food and wine festival. Common contexts at events where alcohol-related problems were seen included: inadequate alcohol control and management by security staff; the ability to purchase four alcoholic drinks (rather than two) at a time; inexperienced bar staff untrained in responsible alcohol service; no or little promotion of low and non-alcoholic drinks; and a lack of monitoring and enforcement of the law on intoxication.

Many of the factors associated with risky drinking and violence (e.g. a permissive environment, a large proportion of young males, and crowding) are present at sporting and other events where alcohol is available (Single & McKenzie 1991).

In particular, university student sports fans have been found to drink more alcohol, be more likely to engage in binge drinking, and be more likely to report alcohol-related problems than students who are not sports fans (Nelson & Wechsler 2003).

Aggressive behaviour is more frequent in drunken crowds compared with sober crowds, and intoxicated crowds display greater levels of violence as crowd size (i.e. density) increases (Moore et al 2008).

Indeed, alcohol abuse has been identified as a major public health concern at large events (Earl et al 2004).

Alcohol is often seen as a symbol of celebration and is included in many public events (Department of Tourism, Sport and Racing 1999) as one of a range of services and part of the entertainment package.

However, when something goes wrong there can be serious consequences for everyone involved in alcohol management. The crowd demographics of those attending large events (especially sporting events) have changed in recent years. More women, children and families are enjoying the occasions, which makes the management of alcohol at large events all the more important