Access All Areas December 2021 - Page 49

“ Enough is enough . The industry needs to stand together and eradicate this evil .” - Sacha Lord


behaviours towards women were now perceived as “ normal ” within the night time economy .
Festival actions Despite their euphoric and joyous nature , there can be a dark side to music festivals for women . A study at Durham University estimated that the number of sexual assaults that take place on site every year could be close to 250,000 . Work is being done to help tackle this issue and at the heart of it is the Association of Independent Festivals ( AIF ), led by CEO Paul Reed . The AIF ’ s Charter of Best Practice , which aims to train staff , provide victim-led contingency planning and specific facilities for survivors of sexual assault , was developed with guidance from Crisis England & Wales , Girls Against , Safe Gigs For Women and the White Ribbon Campaign .
The initiative has been designed to encourage event attendees to not be bystanders and to take a zero tolerance approach to all forms of sexual assault . Also at the forefront of the issue is S & C Productions , the promoter of the Strawberries &
At the Safe Gigs for Women event
Chris Jammer
Creem Festival , which was used as a pilot event this year for the Safe Spaces Now initiative with UNWUK . It involved using ‘ guardian angel ’ volunteers who were on hand to support potential victims .
The campaign group claims that more than 40 % of women under 40 have experienced sexual harassment at a live music event , 70 % of women
Claire Barnett in the UK have been subjected to sexual harassment and 60 % of music industry workers face harassment .
S & C Productions co-founder Chris Jammer says , “ It ’ s an issue that might be more prevalent than we think it is because only 5 % of sexual harassment is actually reported , as women don ’ t think it is going to lead to any action . As a male-led team , we thought we needed to do something about this and make sure that guys are being made aware of this issue . So it is not women talking to women about it , it ’ s also including guys in the conversation .
“ We ’ re encouraging our audience to provide feedback on our policies and what we can do to improve . The next step with the campaign is to really bring the whole industry together and combine our efforts to target this issue and make some changes together .”
Jammer says the the Safe Spaces Now campaign , which has won the support of artists including Ellie Goulding and Sophie Ellis-Bextor , has also been warmly received by the wider industry : “ We ’ re really happy with the reach it has got and the reception . We had good feedback from our festivalgoers about how safe they
“ Enough is enough . The industry needs to stand together and eradicate this evil .” - Sacha Lord
felt on site . We want to build on that .”
In terms of what the wider industry can do , Jammer says working collectively with a synchronised approach is key , and that S & C plans to work with the AIF on its scheme . An industry roundtable discussing the issues involved is planned for early 2022 .
UNWUK executive director and creator of the Safe Spaces Now campaign Claire Barnett says , “ The levels of interest from the events industry have been good , though less so than from festivals specifically . What we need now is to ensure that this is a movement for change and not just a moment . In 2022 we want to see all the major music festivals in the UK implementing Safe Spaces Now measures .”