Music festival websites to go dark for 24 hours in campaign against sexual assault

The likes of Bestival and Secret Garden Party have signed up to the Safer Spaces campaign, with both taking part in the blackout next week

Over 25 UK music festivals will turn off their websites for 24 hours on Monday (May 8) in support of a campaign against sexual assault at festivals.

Set up by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), the campaign hopes to raise awareness of on-site support services that will be available to help victims of sexual assault at music festivals.

In support of the new Safer Spaces campaign, more than 25 UK festivals – including Bestival, Parklife and Secret Garden Party – will ‘go dark’ on their websites from 9am on Monday to raise awareness.

Speaking about the initiative, AIF campaign manager Renae Brown said: “It’s raising awareness and letting audiences know that if something were to happen, they can report it on site. This is something we should be talking about at festivals. We want people to look out for each other.”

Bestival

Bestival

Bestival’s founder Rob Da Bank echoed Brown’s sentiments, adding: “Festivals can be crazy spaces and we’re proud that they’re places to let off steam – but there are limits and rules, as there are in general society. We just want everyone to be aware and it’s great that some of the UK’s biggest festivals have signed up to this.

“It’s a positive message and not a scary one. Everyone should be able to go to festivals and enjoy them.”

As well as the ‘blackout’ campaign, more than 60 members of the AIF have also signed up to a charter of ‘best practice’ – which is designed to ensure festival staff and volunteers are trained to deal with sexual violence.

The new initiative has been backed by such groups as Rape Crisis England & Wales, Girls Against and Safe Gigs For Women.