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Swedish women-only music festival to take place 'until men learn how to behave themselves'

Swedish comedian Emma Knyckare suggested the event after several large music festivals were blighted by rape and sexual assault allegations

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Friday 06 October 2017 08:14
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Sweden looks set to hold its first “women-only” music festival after a funding campaign reached its target of £47,000.

Comedian Emma Knyckare suggested the idea after several large-scale music events in Sweden were blighted by allegations of rape and sexual asasult.

Statement Festival was proposed as an event for “non-men” this summer, and has since raised more than its original target of 500,000 kronor (£46,840) from more than 3,000 people.

The Kickstarter page reads: “At music festivals, everyone should feel safe. This sounds obvious, right? Still, year after year the music festivals around the world have shown us the opposite.

“Statement Festival wants to change this and in the summer of 2018, we will arrange the world’s most awesome music festival - without cis-men. Help us to create a safe space for the people who want to attend a festival without feeling scared for their personal safety.”

The Kickstarter page for women-only music event: Statement Festival

The Statement Festival is due to be held in the summer 2018 for 10,000 people - cis women, trans women and non-binary are all welcome. Around 22 people are working on organising the event.

The organisers of Bravalla Festival in Norrkoping, Sweden, have confirmed that next year's event will not go ahead after four reports of rape and 23 sexual assaults which allegedly took place on site.

Bråvalla, which bills itself as the “biggest music festival in Sweden”, took place this year from 28 June - 1 July and featured acts including The Killers, The Chainsmokers, Prophets of Rage, Linkin Park and System Of A Down.

One woman said she was forced to have sex with a man after changing her mind.

Organisers told AFP: “Certain men... apparently cannot behave. It's a shame. We have therefore decided to cancel Bråvalla 2018.”​

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Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven told the Swedish daily Expressen: "This must stop" and said the government was in talks with police about increasing surveillance at large-scale music events.

In 2016, five rapes and 12 sexual assaults were reported at the same festival.

Mumford and Sons, who were on the bill in 2016 with The 1975, Wiz Khalifa and Biffy Clyro, wrote a statement expressing dismay at the reports and said they would not play the festival again until they had assurances that fans could be protected.

“Festivals are a celebration of music and people, a place to let go and feel safe doing so,” they wrote. “We won't play at this festival again until we've had assurances from the police and organisers that they're doing something to combat what appears to be a disgustingly high rate of reported sexual violence.”

Zara Larsson added: “Damn you people who shamelessly rape a girl in public. Damn you guys who make a girl feel unsafe when they go to a festival.”

Anti-rape charities in Sweden have accused festival organisers of failing to protect their guests. In 2016 the anti-rape charity Nattskiftet said in a statement: “Festival organisers must take this seriously. After quite some time, they're on their way to understanding it. But very little is happening.”

The £47,000 raised for Statement Festival will be used to cover costs, such as renting space for the association running the festival, paying artists, and security.

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