World’s first major festival exclusively for women, non-binary and transgender persons took place this week in the city of Gothenburg
The first annual Statement Festival kicked off on 31 August in Gothenburg, Sweden. The two-day event is a reaction to the amount of abuse reported at music festivals and gigs around the world. Although there has been a sharp rise in the number of incidents being reported – largely due to the #MeToo movement – there is a strong belief that festivals, venues and gig organisers aren’t making enough progress to prevent these attacks.
The idea for a festival free of cis-men came from Swedish comedian Emma Knyckare. Cisgender is the opposite to transgender. The term identifies people whose sex matches the gender they were assigned with at birth.
“We work exclusively with women, non-binary and transgender persons… this ranges from artists to catering to security personnel,” said Knyckare. “#MeToo has changed the debate, making it easier to organise the festival… our desire to create a safe place, a free zone. [But] it’s not the solution, it’s a reaction to the problem,” she said.
A statement from the festival’s website reads: “At music festivals everyone should feel safe. This sounds obvious, right? But year after year, the abuse at music festivals has shown the opposite. At Statement Festival safety is a given and we are now organizing a music festival completely free from cis men, in both the audience and on the line up.”
The line-up consists of some of Sweden’s biggest musicians, comedians and poets, including 10 times platinum-selling artist Loreen, DJ duo Rebecca & Fiona and Emma Knyckare, herself.