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A police officer is seen at the campsite at Bravalla Festival in Norrkoping, Sweden. (TT News Agency/Izabelle Nordfjell/via REUTERS)


After music festival is canceled due to sexual assaults, comedian organizes ‘man-free’ festival instead

July 6, 2017

Legendary Swedish music festival Bråvalla has been canceled next year after at least four alleged rapes and 23 sexual assaults were reported at this year’s four-day event held in late June. With crowds upwards of 40,000 people, Bråvalla had drawn acts such as Kanye West and The Killers while stamping its place as the country’s largest music festival. But after two straight years marred by reports of sex crimes, festival organizers announced that since “certain men … apparently cannot behave,” they had no choice but to shut down the popular event. In response, Swedish comedian and radio host Emma Knyckare offered an alternative option — host the festival, just don’t invite any men.

“Until all men have learned how to behave,” she tweeted, “What do you think about putting together a really cool festival where only non-men are welcome?”

The suggestion, which initially may have been meant as a joke, has since picked up steam. So much steam, in fact, that Knyckare has said to the BBC that “Sweden’s first man-free rock festival will see the light next summer.”

“Since it seems to be okay to discriminate against women all the time, maybe it’s okay to shut out men for three days? I would not exactly call it an abuse not to come to the festival,” Knycare told Sweden’s Aftonbladet.

Man-free music festivals are a rare, if not unheard of, occurrence. From 1997 to 2000, the Lilith Fair billed only female performers — although the audience could be either male or female. At Britain’s Glastonbury Festival, a special female-only venue called the Sisterhood was opened to provide concert-goers with a “women-only space.” And the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, which began in 1976, was “built, staffed, run and attended by women.” The Womyn’s festival had its last hurrah in 2015 — at least in part due to criticism over not allowing transgender women to attend.

The designation of Knyckare’s festival as “man-free” is meant to be inclusive of people who are gender non-binary or transgender. But given the uproar that went up over the Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse’s decision to host an all-women screening of Wonder Woman, it seems inevitable that Knyckare will have to overcome a number of obstacles — and men’s rights activists — before she can make her dream a reality.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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