UK Festivals Promote Safer Spaces Campaign With Web Blackout
Mon, 08 May 2017 09:53:17
Today in the U.K. a number of the country's largest music festivals have been holding a website blackout. The campaign is to promote an increase of awareness of sexual violence at musical events, and every festival taking part in the event have signed a charter that pledges zero tolerance.
The Safer Spaces campaign, launched by the Association of Independent Festivals, has been backed by 28 events across the country, including Bestival, Parklife, End of the Road, and Secret Garden Party.
In order to promote the message, festivals will take part in a 24-hour web blackout and anyone visiting their website will be greeted simply with the hashtag #saferspacesatfestivals.
Speaking with The Guardian, Lauren Down, managing director of End of the Road, said they wanted to use their public platform openly address the issues of sexual assault, "Sexual violence can happen to anyone, anywhere… There is an idea that festivals are an ambiguous area — big crowds, lots of alcohol, etc — but no matter the situation, it is never OK without consent. It's important to just bring the conversation out into the open. We shouldn't be afraid of talking about the issues, because we're stronger together. We have a responsibility to spread the message as far and wide as possible."
Each of the festivals involved in the campaign have also signed a charter of best practice. The pledges include the promotion of consent, the provision of better training to staff to understand how to sensitively deal with incidents and people who report them, and a zero-tolerance approach to sexual assaults.
Despite dozens of reports of sexual assaults at a number of festivals around the world, it is only a recent initiative that sees event organizers tackling the issue head-on.
With increasing awareness of the issue, and the desire of event organizers and campaign groups using creative measures to deliver and enforce this new charter we hope that it won't be long before a global initiative is adopted — making all music festivals safe for music lovers everywhere.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff