Bråvalla is an annual four-day music festival in Sweden. It calls itself Sweden’s largest music festival.
This year it took place between 28th June and 1st July. Over seventy acts performed over the packed long weekend, and in that time there were reports of four rapes and twenty-three sexual assaults.
In response, the organisers have decided to cancel the planned 2018 dates. Good.
For context: In 2016, at the very same festival, there were reports of five rapes and twelve sexual assaults. This has not been a freak year.
For any men still disputing the damage that our patriarchal, rape-culture-permitting society inflicts, perhaps this will be a wake up call. And isn’t it lovely how the extent of discomfort that we basically ever have to deal with is waking up? Instead of, you know, being sexually assaulted. At a fucking music festival—they’re meant to be the most fun, carefree, joyous experiences a person can have for fuck’s sake! I am a chronic festival goer. I go every year. I look forward to it the whole year. I cannot even imagine what it must be like to be a woman—to book the time off work, to make plans with friends, to be giddy with excitement for the sweet release of freedom and music and companionship, and then to have to temper that sweet cocktail with the knowledge and the preparedness and the fucking fear that some horrible, entitled, unpardonable twat is going to do the unthinkable. And yet, whether at a festival or anywhere else, that is the reality for half of the world’s population. It’s unacceptable and it needs to change.
It’s gonna need to be deep, systemic change. A total re-evaluation and realignment of men’s values, as well as broader societal shifts (the fact that a good amount of the exploitative power of capitalism is fed by sexism and misogyny just as it is by racism cannot go ignored) will have to take place.
In the mean time, band-aids can be put in place. One such band-aid was floated by Swedish radio presenter and comedian Emma Knyckare, who tweeted the following after the horrible festival news broke this weekend:
What do you think about putting together a really cool festival where only non-men are welcome, that we’ll run until ALL men have learned how to behave themselves?
Later, she confirmed via her Instagram:
Sweden’s first man-free rock festival will see the light next summer.
In the coming days I’ll bring together a solid group of talented organisers and project leaders to form the festival organisers, then you’ll hear from everyone again when it’s time to move forward.
Good. This will not cure our world of the poison, but it sure as shit will draw attention to the still-uncontained infection.