People are starting to fight back against sexual assault at festivals.
In July, GOOD reported on a brave act by Circa Survive guitarist Brendan Ekstrom. While playing a show in St. Louis, he noticed a woman being groped by a man in the audience. So he jumped off the stage, mid-song, and confronted the man. Last weekend, at the Lowlands Festival in The Netherlands, Sam Carter, lead singer of the U.K. band Architects, saw a woman being harassed and wouldn’t stand for it either.
After witnessing a crowd-surfing woman having her breast grabbed by a male audience member, Carter made an impassioned, off-the-cuff speech against sexual assault.
“I’ve been going over in my fucking mind about whether I should say something or not about what I saw in that last song, and do you know what? I’m gonna fucking say it. I saw a girl, a woman, crowd-surfing over here, and I’m not going to fucking point the piece of shit out that did it, but I saw you fucking grab at her boob. I saw it. It is fucking disgusting, and there is no fucking place for that shit. It is not your fucking body, it is not your fucking body, and you do not fucking grab at someone. Not at my fucking show. So if you feel like doing that again, walk out there and fuck off and don’t come back. Let’s keep this going, let’s keep this a fucking safe place for everybody, and let’s have a fucking good time!”
It’s important for musicians, such as Carter and Eckstrom, to stand up against sexual assault because it’s a major problem at festivals. After 11 cases of sexual assault and one case of rape were reported at this year’s Bravalla Festival in Sweden, promoters decided to cancel the event in 2018. Due to a rash of assault reports, the Glastonbury Festival in the U.K. now has a female-only venue where women can watch a show without fear of being assaulted by men.
Although reports of sexual violence at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, are rare, promoters have been taking action to keep it safe for female attendees. “Over the last two years, we’ve taken a very proactive approach,” Sgt. Daniel L. Marshall of the Indio Police Department told The Los Angeles Times. This year’s festival had more lighting and the Indio police department set up a text-message system for fans to report assaults or threatening behavior.
Sexual assault at festivals isn’t a new problem. Beastie Boy Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz addressed the issue at the MTV Video Music Awards back in 1999.