100-Plus UK Festivals Commit To Tackling Sexual Violence

AIF Safer Spaces Logo
The Association of Independent Festivals’ Safer Spaces at Festivals campaign logo.

Most of the UK’s leading major and independent festivals have committed to the Safer Spaces At Festivals campaign, initiated by the Association of Independent Festivals’ (AIF).

The campaign aimed at tackling sexual violence at festivals was originally launched in 2017, and has been relaunched today, May 16, to address the issue in 2022 and beyond.

Promoters of 105 UK festivals had signed the Safer Spaces At Festivals charter at the time of writing, including Boomtown Fair, Boardmasters, Reading and Leeds, Bluedot, Parklife, and Shambala among many more. Full list of signatories below.

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,” according to a press release sent out by AIF.

The best practices of Safer Spaces At Festivals was 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.

Sexual Assault Reports: AIF Advises Caution

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.

In addition, participating festivals will 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.

The AIF provides a research hub including all best practices and linking to partner organizations under https://aiforg.com/initiatives/safer-spaces.

AIF’s latest audience survey, following the 2019 season, asked, whether festivalgoers experienced sexual assault or harassment at any festival this year?. 98.7% answered ‘No’.

Phoebe Rodwell
Phoebe Rodwell, AIF membership & operations coordinator

This was from a total of 2,283 respondents, 68.83% of which identified as female. However, at festivals and in wider society, this is a difficult problem to quantify – according to Rape Crisis, 5 in 6 women who are raped do not report it to Police (the same is true for 4 in 5 men), underlining the need for a proactive approach from festival organizers.

AIF Membership & Operations Coordinator Phoebe Rodwell commented: “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.”

Safer Spaces at Festivals – Charter of Best Practice Signatories:

2000 Trees
Ampthill Festival
Are You Listening?
Barn on the Farm
Bearded Theory
The Beat-Herder Festival
Beer Bop a Lula
Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival
Big Burns Supper
Big Foot
Black Deer Festival
Boomtown Fair
Broadwick Entertainment
Camp Wildfire
Cheltenham Jazz Festival
Craft Festival
Deer Shed Festival
Dot to Dot
Down at the Abbey
El Dorado
Elderflower Fields
Electric Picnic
End of the Road Festival
Engine No.4
Fairport’s Cropredy Convention
Fire in the Mountain
Green Gathering
Greenbelt Festival
Hanwell Hootie
Hebridean Celtic Festival
Hospitality Weekend in the Woods
Inside Out
Isle of Wight Festival
Jack Up The Summer
Kendal Calling
Kew The Music
Kings Jam Festival
Leeds Festival
Liverpool Sound City
London Remixed
Long Division
Lost Village
Love Saves the Day
Love Trails
Maes B
M For
Meltdown Festival
Method Events
Mostly Jazz
Nozstock: The Hidden Valley
Party at the Palace
Pete the Monkey
Pub in the Park
Radar Festival
Reading Festival
Rebellion Festival
Red Rooster
Rhythm Tree
Rise Festival
Rock Oyster
Shindig Festival
Slammin Events
Standon Calling
Strawberries & Creem
The Do Lectures
The Great Escape
The Mighty Hoopla
The National Eisteddfod of Wales
The Wyldes
Thought Bubble
Towersey Festival
Truck Festival
UK Tech-Fest
Underneath the Stars
Valley Fest
We Are The Fair
We Out Here
Wild Paths
Y Not?

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