Shambhala Music festival organizers to address sexual violence in festivals | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Shambhala Music festival organizers to address sexual violence in festivals

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/ Shambhala Music Festival
July 19, 2020 - 12:02 PM

After ousting a performer from its upcoming concert roster, Shambhala Music Festival said it is going to "take accountability for the role festivals play" in sexual violence in our society.

The festival recently removed UK artist Billy Kenny from its upcoming show lineup, after allegations of sexual assault, including harassment and abuse and since then other comments about performers from the past have arisen.

 

"Guided by our dedication to fostering a caring and inclusive community-based atmosphere, Shambhala Music Festival strives to provide a safe and inclusive environment to celebrate amazing music, art, culture, creativity, and self-expression. Shambhala has long been considered a leader in harm reduction, and the safety of our guests, crew, and artists is our number one priority," reads a statement sent out today, July 18.

"In light of allegations against past and present artists on our performance roster, we recognize that forms of sexual violence exist in our society and we take accountability for the role festivals play in this. The industry needs to change. We need to change."

Shambhala organizers offered their "sincerest apologies to all of those affected and thank those who displayed the courage to speak out."

Their team is now going to look at ways improving the way they run the festival, and will work to ensure their team, guests, and artists align with their values and we commit to using the lessons learned to reduce the potential for future harm.

Starting immediately, they're going to do extensive background checks for artists and a zero-tolerance policy for assault of any kind.

Staff will get more training into conducting sexual harassment and violence investigations to ensure every claim reaches the appropriate festival officials. There will be in-depth consent training manuals and content for our guests, crew, and artists to ensure that they unequivocally understand what it means to receive consent.

Staff will also be trained on how to handle allegations promptly and appropriately.

"We know that these actions won’t reduce the trauma felt by anyone who has experienced sexual violence, but we move forward with the commitment to dismantle rape culture and we take accountability for the role festivals play in this," Shambhala organizers said in the press release.

This year’s lineup includes popular electronic acts: BTSM, Bob Moses, Claptone, DJ Premier, Ekali and more with more than 200 artists performing on the festival’s six stages.

The music festival has been ongoing for more than 20 years, born from a Labour Day weekend in 1998 when some 500 people wanted to showcase local art and music at the Salmo River Ranch, according to the festival website.

"In the meantime, we have made the decision to postpone our upcoming streaming festival July 23-25 and pause our social media to allow our team to take the necessary time to review our Code of Conduct, including all of our harm reduction strategies in the days ahead."

 

 


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