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Gigs SHOULD Be Safe For Everyone

I have been attending gigs for most of my life. They are a place of enjoyment and emotion, you’re in a room with hundreds of others all anticipating the music to come from the stage, gigs bring a feeling of togetherness and forgetting your worries for one night. Maybe that’s why I go to so many; I can’t get enough of that high. It never gets old.

Though as I’ve grown older I’ve had to become more aware at gigs, aware of the people around me and how they are acting. Especially when I go to gigs alone. This is mainly because I am female, and I have heard way too many stories about women being harassed at gigs and festivals. I know too many girls who have been affected by this, and that really saddens me, knowing that they may never feel comfortable to go to another gig again.

We need to make gigs a safer space for all, for the audience and for the band. Misogyny in the music industry is a very common thing and I will not stop shouting about it until we see change. I will link some great resources and accounts at the end of this post but the main two will be Safe Gigs For Women and Artists Against Harassment (which is very new movement set up by Lucy McCourt, and honestly I’m surprised this hasn’t been created before now). Please share these accounts and follow them yourself if you don’t already, please get involved if you can, nothing will change otherwise.

I can think of countless examples of this happening at gigs or of band members in the rock and alternative scene who have had allegations against them, an article I read that really brings a lot of my thoughts together well was written for Mean Muse Magazine, another article I will link below, as it put everything I wanted to say together more coherently than I could.

I guess I’m writing this article to raise awareness of the harassment that does occur at gigs and festivals, and I’m sure many of you reading this will already know how bad it is, but in case you don’t I’m going to put this into context. Almost half (43%) of female festival goers under 40 say they have faced unwanted sexual behaviour at a music festival, the most common forms of this were unwelcome and forceful dancing and verbal sexualized harassment. This poll by YouGov suggested that only 2% of these incidents were reported to the police. This in my opinion is because of the stigma surrounding harassment at gigs and festivals, or women thinking that it wasn’t something serious enough to report. There’s an article by BBC News which suggests ways in which you can help a victim if you are a witness to sexual assault or harassment at festivals which is really important to read, so again I will link it below.

The stigma that surrounds this need to disappear too, it really frustrates me that people feel like they can’t speak out about their experiences or feel like they can get help. It also frustrates me that not everyone is doing what they can at gigs, labels, in bands or at venues to help make sure that gigs and festivals are enjoyable for everyone and not just the white men at the concert. I shouldn’t feel like I have to watch everyone around me at a gig, or feel like I can only wear certain clothes in case it brought attention to me, or even be scared to buy a drink in case something happens to me or a friend while we’re trying to enjoy the music which is why we are all there in the first place.

Please, if you are an artist or a band reading this, join the Artists Against Harassment campaign, donate to Safe Gigs For Women or have them promote their work at your gigs. It has been really uplifting recently to see how many bands and artists are working with these campaigns and pledging to do more. Many bands do speak out about this at their concerts too which always helps, but we need to see more action. How would you like to be afraid of going to see your favourite band? Exactly.

I will link everything I have mentioned below and will keep any updates on the After Midnight Instagram account about this too, as well as on my personal account. If anyone ever needs to talk about this with someone, please don’t hesitate to send me a message.

Thanks for reading, the story is not over yet.

Safe Gigs For Women website here.

Artists Against Harassment on Instagram here.

Mean Muse Magazine article here.

BBC News article here.

Follow After Midnight on Instagram here.

Follow After Midnight on Facebook here.

Follow me on Instagram here.

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