The Depressing Reason Behind The Planned Man-Free Festival

man-free festival
The planned event is a response to the problem of sexual assaults at music festivals (Pexels)

The first women-only festival is launching in Sweden next summer, after a radio presenter decided it was time to ban all men until they “learn how to behave themselves”.

Emma Knyckare announced her intention after four rapes and 23 sexual assaults were reported at the country’s biggest festival, Bråvalla, forcing it to cancel its 2018 event.

“What do you think about putting together a really cool festival where only non-men are welcome, that we’ll run until all men have learned how to behave themselves?” she tweeted, before later confirming on Instagram that her idea had garnered enough support to become a reality.


“Sweden’s first man-free rock festival will see the light next summer,” she wrote. “In the coming days I’ll bring together a solid group of talented organisers and project leaders to form the festival organisers, then you’ll hear from everyone again when it’s time to move forward.”

Kncykare has hit back at claims her festival plans are sexist, telling Sweden’s Aftonbladet: “Since it seems to be OK to discriminate against women all the time, maybe it’s OK to shut out men for three days? I would not exactly call it an abuse not to come to the festival.”

Mumford and Sons, who headlined Bråvalla in 2016, said shortly afterwards that they would not perform there again until female festival-goers were guaranteed safety.

“Festivals are a celebration of music and people, a place to let go and feel safe doing so,” they wrote in a statement. “We won’t play at this festival again until we’ve had assurances from the police and organisers that they’re doing something to combat what appears to be a disgustingly high rate of reported sexual violence.”

But sexual violence against women at music festivals is far from just a Swedish problem. Two women were raped at Reading Festival last year.

On 8 May, 28 UK music festivals shut down their websites to demonstrate their zero-tolerance attitude to sexual assault and raise awareness of the #saferspacesatfestivals campaign.

Glastonbury opened The Sisterhood in 2016, an “intersectional, queer, trans and disability-inclusive” area for anyone who self-identifies as a woman.

Organisers said that the decision to launch the safe space arose from their belief that “women only spaces are necessary in a world that is still run by and designed to benefit mainly men”.

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