fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Over 100 UK festivals commit to tackling sexual violence

Over 100 UK festivals have backed the Association of Independent Festivals’ (AIF) Safer Spaces at Festivals campaign, which is aimed at tackling sexual violence at festivals.

Boomtown Fair, Boardmasters, Reading & Leeds, Bluedot, Parklife and Shambala are among the 105 signatories.

Originally launched in May 2017, the relaunched initiative sees festivals commit to an updated charter of best practice, developed with input and guidance from experts at Rape Crisis England and Wales, Good Night Out, Safe Gigs For Women, Girls Against and UN Women.

The Charter states that all allegations of sexual harassment, assault and violence will be taken seriously, acted upon promptly and investigated. This is supplemented by a commitment to clear, robust reporting and disclosure procedures, including how to report incidents onsite and post-event.

Festival policies will include relevant health guidance and connections to local services, and the campaign will feature advice on how to be an active bystander including the ‘5 D’s’ of Bystander Intervention devised by Right To Be (Direct, Delegate, Distract, Document and Delay).

“Festivals are microcosms of society and sexual violence is a problem that persists in our society”

In addition, the festivals will actively promote the principle of consent regarding sexual activity onsite at events, defining consent as “someone engaging in sexual activity if they agree by choice, and they have the freedom and capacity to make that choice” and reiterating that consent can be revoked at any time.

Participating festivals are sharing key messages on social media across a 24-hour period from 9 am today (16 May) and will also display key messages onsite this summer at events.

There will also be a resource hub linking to all partner organisations, up to date advice, guidance and best practice examples of what festivals are doing on the ground.

AIF membership & operations coordinator Phoebe Rodwell says: “The original Safer Spaces campaign has had a positive impact across festivals for music fans and festival staff alike. Festivals are microcosms of society and sexual violence is a problem that persists in our society. Our understanding and approaches to tackling the issue are evolving all the time. That’s why it’s important that we renew the Safer Spaces campaign in 2022 with up-to-date messaging, resources and practices, to prevent sexual violence and promote a survivor-led approach, helping festival organisers to fulfil their duty of care at events.”

Media and communications officer at Rape Crisis England and Wales Kelly Bennaton adds: “We’re encouraged to see the commitment and consideration from festival organisers in making their events safe places for women and girls. The AIF Safer Spaces Charter acknowledges the importance of dedicated training, awareness raising, and the provision of specialist support services for survivors.

“Festival goers deserve to know that if they report sexual assault they will be listened to and believed, and that those working on site are equipped to handle all reports with knowledge and empathy. They also deserve to know that festivals are taking a proactive approach in preventing sexual assault, and that abusive behaviour will not be tolerated. We’re pleased to have worked with AIF on developing this charter, and hope that the wider festival industry will follow its lead.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Scheme launched to tackle sexual violence at gigs

Community organisation Safer Spaces has officially launched in response to issues around sexual violence, harassment and abuse at music festivals and events.

Safer Spaces was set up in the UK by two sisters, Anna MacGregor and Madeleine North, in 2021 as a result of their personal and professional experiences, allied to the VAWG (violence against women and girls) “tolerant and systemic culture of assault and abuse of women and girls” at concerts, festivals and other events.

The volunteer-led initiative will be in place at a number of UK and international music festivals this year to offer a comfortable, safe space for women and girls who feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable or who have been sexually assaulted, abused or harassed. It follows a report by YouGov, which revealed that one in five attendees had experienced sexual assault or harassment at a festival, while two in five young female festival-goers have been subjected to unwanted sexual behaviour.

“Safer Spaces wants to eradicate VAWG and harassment throughout society by raising awareness, training professionals and members of the community to challenge behaviours, identify abuse and respond and support people who have experienced or been impacted by assault, abuse or harassment,” says Anna MacGregor, CEO and co-founder of Safer Spaces.

“Festivals, events and artists are uniquely positioned to really emphasise a zero tolerance approach”

“As a country we are creating better services, structures and legislation to respond to VAWG, but it is not enough. VAWG is a systemic and longstanding issue, embedded culturally and socially. We need to engage with people directly, creating safe spaces for women and girls and educating and challenging male violence. Festivals, events and artists are uniquely positioned to really emphasise a zero tolerance approach and show women and girls that they are valued and that male violence is condemned.”

Specially trained volunteer outreach teams will be sent to festivals to offer on site, face-to-face support, whilst educating and engaging festival goers, staff and vendors with zero tolerance and “don’t be a bystander” messaging, to de-stigmatise talking about and reporting sexual violence.

Safer Spaces’ tents offer a welcoming safe space where women and girls can come and hang out, use facilities and escape to some calmness. The tents also provide a safe space to report incidents via private disclosure cabins and get professional support. While Safer Spaces is gender informed, all services are gender inclusive, turning no one away that needs a safe space.

The scheme was piloted at the UK’s 50,000-cap Boardmasters festival in 2021, with around 60 specially-trained volunteers heading to the event. Safer Spaces also took its services to Isle Of Wight festival and SoundStorm in Saudi Arabia. In 2022, Safer Spaces will be in place at Boardmasters, NASS festival, Love Saves The Day, Forwards and BoomTown, with more to be confirmed in the coming months.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Canadian music orgs sign creative sector conduct code

A coalition of Canadian music organisations has signed the country’s Creative Industries Code of Conduct, an industry-wide initiative dedicated to preventing and reducing harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence.

Canada’s creative industries launched the code of conduct in 2018, following the widespread bullying, harassment and discrimination allegations made in the wake of the #metoo movement.

On Saturday 16 March, it was announced that 42 music community groups are now signatories of the code at the Allies in Action event, hosted by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) in London, Ontario.

The newly rebranded Canadian Live Music Association says it is “proud to join our allies in the music community” in signing the behaviour code, which commits signatories to improving and implementing policies to enhance safety and wellbeing within the music community.

It was also announced that Unison Benevolent Fund has committed to hosting education and training resources on its website free of charge. The resources are intended to enable community members to identify, confront and prevent harassment, bullying and violence in any workplace.

“Signing the Code is a way for Canadian music community groups to affirm our dedication to our shared values, and to reinforce those values with action”

“Signing the Code is a way for Canadian music community groups to affirm our dedication to our shared values, and to reinforce those values with action,” says Jackie Dean, chief operating officer of CARAS. “Through the work of the Education, Training and Safe Support Committee, I’m very pleased that we will be able to offer all members of the Canadian music community the resources to help make all of our workplaces safer.”

“Canada’s live music industry is doing its part to ensure that every live music space is a safe place through our recently launched Raising the Bar program,” comments Erin Benjamin, president and chief executive of the Canadian Live Music Association.

“Raising the Bar addresses safer spaces, harm reduction and event safety at live music events, and will work to complement both the ethos and practical implications of the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct. We are all in this together, and we are vigorously working to supplant systemic issues with positive change.”

Terms of the code of conduct in both French and English, as well as additional resources, can be found on the readthecode.ca website, launched in June 2018. More information regarding names of signatories and how to sign up to the code is available here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free digest of essential live music industry news, via email or Messenger.

UK festivals sign anti-sexual harassment charter

More than 60 members of the UK’s Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) have signed up to a charter of best practice aimed at promoting increased awareness of sexual assault.

The ‘Safer Spaces’ campaign – launched by AIF with guidance from Rape Crisis England and Wales, Girls Against, Safe Gigs for Women and the White Ribbon Campaign – aims to connect with music fans in the run-up to this summer’s festival season by emphasising participating festivals’ “zero tolerance” for sexual assault at their events.

Additionally, next Monday (8 May) more than 25 UK festivals, including Bestival, Parklife, End of the Road, Standon Calling, Kendal Calling, Boomtown Fair and the soon-to-end Secret Garden Party, will ‘black out’ their websites for 24 hours, directing visitors to click through to information about the Safer Spaces campaigns, and share an animated gif encouraging festivalgoers to play an active role in promoting safety.

Several festivals in Europe and Australasia have experienced incidents of multiple sexual assaults in the past 12 months, including Putte i Parken and Bråvalla in Sweden, Schlossgrabenfest in Germany and Falls Festival in Australia. Following the incidents at Falls Festival and a similar assault at Unify Gathering, Australia’s St Jerome’s Laneway Festival instituted a hotline (1-800 LANEWAY) for its attendees to report incidents of “disrespectful behaviour”.

AIF’s charter of best practice commits the festivals to:

“It’s really positive to see event organisers commit to training and strategies aimed at preventing sexual assault and rape at festivals”

“This campaign is building upon the positive measures that are already being taken by our members,” says AIF campaign manager Renae Brown. “We are reiterating that we have a zero tolerance towards any form of sexual harassment or assault at our events.

“Our members already take very seriously their responsibilities as event organisers, and by taking guidance from Rape Crisis England and Wales, Girls Against, Safe Gigs for Women and the White Ribbon Campaign we are aiming to tackle these issues in both a sensitive and impactful way – pushing awareness of sexual safety to the fore while ensuring all those working on site are properly trained and that UK festivals continue to provide the safest, securest and most enjoyable environment for their customers.”

Adds Rape Crisis’s Rebecca Hitchen: “It’s really positive to see event organisers commit to training and strategies aimed at preventing sexual assault and rape at festivals, as well as making sure those who do experience these crimes get access to appropriate support. Zero tolerance to sexual violence and encouraging festivalgoers not to be bystanders when they witness assaults are strong and crucial messages.”

AIF represents more than 60 independent British festivals.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.