Meet The Safe Gigs for Women Team

Name: Tracey | Where from: Queens Park, West London.

First gig, first festival: My first gig was at Hyde Park watching Bob Dylan, The Who and Eric Clapton. I was 14 I think, so about 1995? (Although honestly it was Kylie Minogue for my 8th birthday). My first festival – Reading festival 2000. Beck tied people to the stage, I got slightly concussed on the last night by someone lobbing a full bottle at my head, which was then not helped by watching a man running around naked with a toilet brush sticking out from his ass.

Top 5 albums: Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible/Everything Must Go. (This counts as one as they tell two parts of the same story. You won’t win having this argument with me). Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart. Or Love, Ire and Song. Idlewild  – 100 Broken Windows. Primal Scream – XTRMNTR

Gah – this is tooo hard! Who set these questions? Erm….. Ben Marwood – Back Down. Or Hole – Live Through This. Or Arcade Fire – Funeral. Or Los Campesinos – Romance is Boring. Or Archive – You All Look the Same To Me. Or Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager.

Why do you volunteer for SGFW: I’ve been going to gigs since I was 14. Over that time I have experienced sexual harassment at gigs and festivals on numerous occasions. In 2015, I travelled to Cardiff to see my absolute favourite band (Manic Street Preachers) play a 20th anniversary set for their seminal album, The Holy Bible. During the last song, a guy lunged at me putting both hands around me, pulling me towards him. Once I’d fought him off, he told me he’d done it because “it’s the last song”.  I cried. After spending the rest of the night blaming myself for going alone/wearing a dress and make up/having one cider, I woke up the next morning a lot calmer and decided to write about what happened. Safe Gigs for Women grew from that blog. I think I just got to the point where I feel so angry that as a woman, why isn’t my love of music taken seriously?

Name – Sarah | Where from: Isle of Man

First gig, first festival: Probably someone’s Dad’s band playing Thin Lizzy covers down the local; Hopfarm 2011.

Top 5 Songs (gave up on albums, too difficult): Perfect Day- Lou Reed, Strangers- The Kinks, Fisherman’s Blues- The Waterboys, Wuthering Heights- Kate Bush, My Kingdom for a Horse- Frank Turner.

Why do you volunteer for SGFW: Because I’m at my most ecstatically happy at a gig, and no-one should have the right to take that away from me or anyone else.

Name – Mel | Where from: This is a very complicated question! I am an American, having lived in 5 US states, but I lived in Australia for 15 years before moving to the UK in 2015. My accent shifts, so if you meet me, you might not pick where I’m from.

First gig, first festival: My first gig was to see Eddie Money in 1981 at a local racetrack. I was 13 years old. My first festival was Day on the Green in San Francisco in 1983.

Top 5 albums: I have put some thought in! Rush, Moving Pictures. Marillion, Misplaced Childhood. Black Flag, Damaged. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Wild, The Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle. Frank Turner, Poetry of the Deed.

Why do you volunteer for SGFW: Because as a feminist who goes to so many gigs, I am appalled that there are people who think it is appropriate to treat other gig-goers with such disregard. I want to be the change I want to see, so when I met Tracey (and we got on like a house on fire) I decided I could help. I have legal expertise, which is helpful, and a general willingness to do stuff. Hopefully one day we’re not needed anymore.

Name – David | Where from: Hemel Hempstead

First gig, first festival: Levellers, Watford Colosseum, 1996. Reading Festival 1997.

Top 5 albums: Bob Dylan, Desire. Pearl Jam, Ten. Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run. The Decemberists, Picaresque. Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman.

Why do you volunteer for SGFW: I think the question should be why wouldn’t I volunteer for SGFW? When Tracey first started SGFW the reaction from gig venues was ‘this makes complete sense’ and festivals ‘we don’t have a problem’. Building support from gig goers and musicians SGFW is now month-on-month appearing at gigs, venues across the UK and major festivals. There is no longer a ‘denial’ in there being a problem, but a building united call across the industry to take a stand against harassment at music events. This is not a ‘woman’s’ problem, it’s something everybody that cares about live music needs to be part of to make a change, and that’s why I’m part of SGFW.

Name: Anna | Where from: Manchester

First gig, first festival: Coldplay, Glastonbury

Top 5 albums: Carole King – Tapestry. Frank Turner – Love, Ire & Song. Manic Street Preachers – Everything must go. Seth Sentry – This was Tomorrow. Skinny Lister – Down on Deptford Broadway. (This list changes on a daily basis).

Why do you volunteer for SGFW: Music and going to gigs is a huge passion. In particular I’ve met some great friends through Xtra Mile Recordings gigs, where I’ve found a real sense of community. However, I have also been to gigs where I have felt rather uncomfortable. It’s a huge privilege to volunteer for an organisation which strives to raise awareness and facilitate creating a safe environment at gigs. No one should have to tolerate any form of abuse, and hopefully through raising awareness, people feel more comfortable to speak out about their own experience, or to challenge/raise awareness if they observe someone else being abused.

Name: Ivan | Where from: Bolton

First gig, first festival: Carter USM, Reading 1991

Top 5 Albums: Get Up Kids – Something to write home about. Jawbreaker – 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. Texas is the reason – Do you know who you are. Afghan Whigs – Black Love. Refused – Shape of punk to come

Why do you volunteer for SGFW: Creativity be that in music, art, dance, theatre or whatever medium you choose is based on community. If you a performer you wish to be heard, an artist to be seen and in today’s society everyone should be able to feel safe in that community. I am lucky enough to have seen many bands and support live music by going to gigs, promoting them and being part of that community. I want to support that community in making sure it is safe for all and especially safe for women to be able to share in all the creativity that is available. No one should miss out. Everyone should feel safe. As Frank Turner, said it’s ridiculous that we are even having this debate in today’s society, but unfortunately sometimes gigs are not safe and we have to be able to support each other, look out for one another and make sure that gigs are safe.

Sarah | Sunderland, Tyne and Wear

First Gig: My first gig was seeing Catatonia at Northumbria Uni in 2000. Cerys was amazing! I thought the floor was going to cave in from the crowd jumping.

Top 5 Albums: I am a Bird Now – Antony and the Johnsons; The Bones of What We Believe – Chvrches; O – Damien Rice; This is my Truth Tell Me Yours – Manic Street Preachers; Diamond Mine – King Creosote and Jon Hopkins

Why do you volunteer for SGFW: Having seen and experienced assault and inappropriate behaviour at gigs over the years, I decided to get involved and try to make a difference by raising awareness of the issue. I’d just like people to know there are organisations out there who can support them, and that you don’t need to put up with behaviour in a gig that wouldn’t be accepted in other aspects of our lives. I love live music, and want everyone to feel safe to be wherever they want to be in an audience and whatever gig they choose, so they can enjoy it as much as anyone else.