Sweden will hold a women-only festival in 2018 after a Kickstarter campaign raised 500,000 Swedish Krona (nearly $62,000 USD). The campaign for the Statement Festival was launched to help raise awareness about how many women no longer feel safe at traditional music festivals after an increase in sexual assaults were made public
In 2017, Swedish music festivals such as Bråvalla and Putte I Parken were laden with cases of sexual assault. Women at Bråvalla reported four rapes and 23 incidents of sexual assault at this year’s event, which led to the cancellation of its 2018 iteration.
As a result, 22 individuals fronted by Swedish comedian and radio presenter, Emma Knyckare, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a music festival without men.
“When I first tweeted the idea I didn’t expect any response at all,” Knyckare told Amplify. “It’s because of all those responses that we are doing the festival.”
The campaign’s page reads “At music festivals, everyone should feel safe. This sounds obvious, right? Still, year after year the music festivals around the world have shown us the opposite….Help us to create a safe space for the people who want to attend a festival without feeling scared for their personal safety.”
The campaign kicked off on Sept. 6 and reached its goal 31 days later on Oct. 8. Over 3,303 people pledged funds to the campaign that exceeded its monetary goal.
“Because people really wanted the festival, we created the Kickstarter, but we didn’t expect to reach the goal so soon. The nicest part is all the backers. Many people have put in a little money instead of a few people putting in a lot,” Knyckare said. “People are tired of sexual assaults and many people seem to need a safe place where they can listen to music and drink beer for two days.”
Knyckare explained that the festival will be open to women, non-binary individuals (who don’t identify with either gender) , and transgender women. Cis-men (males who identify their gender as men) can not attend.
Swedish law allows for events to exclude a group based on gender if it is with good intent, according to the Kickstarter page. Knyckare said that she has not received backlash yet for the event excluding men, only support. A male comedian friend of hers even offered to handle clean up after the event.
“Most men in Sweden understand why this is needed and want to support their daughters, wives, friends, and lovers,” Knyckare said. “Statement is not a solution of the problem, its a reaction.”
Statement plans to host 10,000 women-identified music lovers which would make it the largest women-only music festival in the world. The festival will span two days and feature both music and comedy.
With the money raised, the organizers, many of whom work in the music and entertainment industry, are working on booking talent. Knyckare said a lot of Swedish artists are excited about Statement and want to play the festival. Statement currently plans to announce acts on Nov. 19 which is International Men’s Day.