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Strawberries & Creem and UN Women UK partner on Safe Spaces Now initiative

By | Published on Monday 16 August 2021

Safe Spaces Now

The Strawberries & Creem festival and campaign group UN Women UK have partnered on a new initiative – Safe Spaces Now – calling for more to be done to tackle sexual harassment and violence against women and marginalised groups at live events.

In an open letter to the live sector and the wider music community last week, they and other signatories called for a rethink of how venues, festivals, studios and other music industry workplaces are set up, in order to ensure that they are more safe.

The letter cites research saying that 70% of women in the UK have been sexually harassed, while more than 40% of women under 40 have been harassed at a live music event. More than 95% of incidents go unreported, they add, highlighting the need for change as the industry reopens following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As live events return following the COVID pandemic, women and marginalised people everywhere are not only thinking about staying safe from the virus – they want to be able to enjoy their right to music, arts and culture without constant fears of violence and harassment”, says Claire Barnett, Executive Director of UN Women UK. “We have a unique opportunity as we return from lockdown to reconsider the way we construct and use our public spaces to be safer for the long term”.

Set to take place in September, the 2021 edition of Strawberries & Creem will double up as a Safe Spaces Now pilot event, putting into practice numerous solutions UN Women UK has identified for making live events safer and more inclusive.

Chris Jammer, co-founder of Strawberries & Creem, says: “We’re passionate about ensuring our events are welcoming, inclusive and safe spaces for people to enjoy music together. Festivals should offer joy and hope to everyone, and they are absolutely no place for harassment or abuse of any form. Equality and diversity are values close to our hearts, and we’re proud to have a gender-balanced line-up this year, as well as to be working with UN Women UK on this crucial initiative”.

“We hope that together”, he adds, “we can set a blueprint for what safe spaces should look like for festivals moving forward – for all of our audience, as well as our artists and staff”.

Other signatories of the open letter include Glastonbury’s Emily Eavis, The Eden Project, Dice, Clara Amfo, Anne-Marie, MNEK, Rudimental, Paloma Faith and Holly Humberstone.

View and sign the open letter here.