Inspired by their Swedish colleagues, agents, managers and artists including Courtney Barnett and Tina Arena have demanded an end to sexual misconduct in the music biz
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Some of Australia's biggest festivals and promoters have joined forces on a code of conduct – or House Rules – aimed at combating indecent behaviour at shows
By Jon Chapple on 14 Jul 2017
Promoters, festivals, agencies, venues and managers have thrown their weight behind Your Choice, a new campaign that aims to raise awareness of and combat the “growing cultural issues around behaviour and lack of personal accountability” in Australia’s live music industry.
The issue of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviour at concerts has become a cause célèbre in Australia in recent months, with assaults reported at a number of high-profile shows and festivals (the most recent example being an incident in which US rapper YG encouraged a largely underage audience to expose their breasts at a show in Brisbane).
Central to the Your Choice initiative is a charter, dubbed House Rules, that supporters hope the industry will adopt as a recognised code of conduct. Among its provisions are that “you don’t have the right to touch someone without their permission, respect their personal space”; “no means no”; “if someone’s doing something [dodgy], call them out [and] report it”; and that “it’s important we all feel comfortable; everyone is welcome here”.
It follows the adoption of a similar charter of best practice by more than 60 festivals in the UK.
“It’s incredible to already see the industry really getting behind this fantastic cause”
Those backing Your Choice include Live Nation Australasia, Secret Sounds Touring, Lunatic Entertainment/St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Groovin the Moo, Byron Bay Bluesfest, Unify Gathering, 123 Agency, Select Touring/Oztix, Handshake Management, collection societies APRA AMCOS and artists The Avalanches, Bernard Fanning and The Jezabels.
While Your Choice acknowledges that “these issues are not exclusive to the music industry” – or, indeed, to Australia, as evidenced by recent events in Sweden – the organisation says it falls to “festival promoters, venue owners, artists, promoters and managers, labels, publicists and more […] to work together to raise awareness of this important cultural issue, encourage a more positive conversation with our audiences and come up with preventative strategies to support and enhance those already in place”.
Michael Coppel, chairman of Live Nation Australasia, says his company’s priority is “to ensure that everyone involved has an inclusive, supportive, safe and fun time. Accordingly we are happy to support the Your Choice initiative. Anything that shines light on these issues, encourages open, honest discussion and assists with the development of measures to prevent or minimise harm in the live performance environment is a big step in the right direction for all of us.”
“Anything that shines light on these issues … is a big step in the right direction for all of us”
Laneway co-founder Danny Rogers adds: “Laneway Festival supports and encourages any positive initiatives that open up a conversation that encourages awareness, education and a creation of safe spaces for artists to perform for their fans. Respect for everyone is a mandate of the Laneway team, and we believe that Your Choice is a positive message that reflects our core values.”
To mark the official launch of the campaign, Your Choice is asking supporters to change their Facebook profile pictures to the Your Choice logo (available from your-choice.net.au) next Tuesday (18 July). Anyone interested in joining Coppel, Rogers et al in getting involved the initiative can also do so on the Your Choice website.
Jaddan Comerford, founder and CEO of Unified Music Group, which promotes Victoria festival Unify Gathering, comments: “Unified completely supports the Your Choice campaign; through our collective network we will continue to promote positive behaviour at live music events. It’s incredible to already see the industry really getting behind this fantastic cause.”
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