Safe Gigs for Women turns five today
- June 5, 2020
- Posted by: Safe Gigs Team
- Category: Uncategorized
Safe Gigs for Women turns five today. Five whole years. This is always a weird day for me – having a tangible reminder of a day that should have been one of the most special days in my life (yup, that gig really did mean that much) and to then leave crying, due to something traumatic that happened always makes my stomach squirm. But then, when I look at what has come out of it since – it’s bittersweet.
In the space of 5 years, we’ve gone from being a one person organisation, to now having volunteers throughout Britain. We’ve appeared at many industry events, including Music Venue Trust Day, Liverpool Sound City and Association of Independent Festivals congress. We’ve been a long-time partner of the Heavy Music Awards. We’ve gained support from some of the most amazing bands and artists in music right now – Frank Turner, Billy Bragg, Idles, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, and had some awesome new bands showing support. And we’ve had space at some of the UK’s biggest festivals, including Glastonbury Left Field, Reading, Leeds and Download, and had a huge festival season ahead.
‘Had’ being the operative word. Clearly our fifth year won’t be the year we imagined it to be. We won’t get to talk face to face with gig and festival goers for some time. Which is disappointing, of course, but entirely necessary. We know we’ve achieved a lot, and have even more to do, but right now, with the rest of the world, we’re rightly on hold. So what can we do to mark our fifth year? Should it even matter in the face of everything going on right now, in the mess of the times we’re living in? But we have a (small) platform, and it would be irresponsible to not use it, to amplify what we can right now.
Covid 19 has had a huge impact on those suffering from domestic abuse, with many having no choice but to lockdown with the perpetrators of abuse. This is leading to increased demands on those providing services for survivors. Where you are able to, please look up the organisations such as Solace Women’s Aid, Refuge or Mankind and support them, and your local refuges. Donate unwanted clothing, toiletries, toys and make up (though do check if they are taking them right now) and help someone who may be starting to rebuild their whole life again.
Many people are struggling with their mental health right now. This may be because of the financial pressures of being furloughed, or being required to shield with no garden, or from reduced access to support or health services whilst we are required to limit our face to face interactions. Check in with your friends, don’t share social media that shames people for being “unproductive”, for gaining weight or tell anyone to “man up”. Seek support from some of the excellent resources that are out there, including Head Above the Waves, CALM and Papyrus.
With lockdown, one of the hardest hit sectors has been music venues and festivals. With no clarity of how long it’ll be before gigs can resume, but a general suspicion that it could be one of the last things that does return to normal, the Music Venue Trust and Independent Venue Week both have resources and links about how you can help venues going. Keep an eye on your local venue on social media – are they hosting crowdfunders? Are you able to share streaming events? Are musicians you love supporting events, in need of merch sales, shares online?
The Safe Gigs for Women team are proud intersectional feminists. Feminism must be intersectional, otherwise, what’s the point? In the search for equality, you have to recognise the rights of other groups demanding the same. It is crucial to recognise our own experiences; my lived experience as a cis white woman is different from a white man, is different from a trans person, and is different again from a black woman. It’s the human thing to do to react when we see injustices, such as the barraging of trans people online from trans exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) and the current unfolding situation in the USA following the death of George Floyd. However, it is crucial to recognise when it is our turn to take a step back, listen and learn from others about what they are experiencing. You could expand your reading list – include books by authors from BAME groups, and trans and non-binary people and only share links online from recommended sources – don’t perpetuate myths or rumours. And always try to be an active bystander when you see someone from a minority being abused or put in danger.
We’ll be back when the time is right. But for now, we’re going to work on how we can learn, how we can all be better people, how we can support others in need and look out for each other. We hope that you all can do this too. And stay safe in the meantime.