Swedish Women Are Creating a Music Festival Where Men Are Banned

A much-needed response after dozens of sexual assaults at a music festival

Bråvalla is Sweden’s largest music festival and the 2018 edition of the festival was cancelled. After 23 reported sexual assaults and four rape cases at this year’s festival, the organizers decided enough was enough.

The festival featured headliners The Killers and Ellie Goulding and has had issues in the past. Last year there were over 50 cases of sexual assault and five rape cases.

“Certain men … apparently cannot behave. It’s a shame. We have therefore decided to cancel Bråvalla 2018,” the festival’s organizers said to The Guardian. It’s absolutely sickening to have such a widespread problem, taking place somewhere that people go to, to escape from their daily life.

This is where some Swedish women are stepping in. Emma Knyckare, a comedian and radio presenter tweeted “What do you think about putting together a really cool festival where only non-men are welcome,” as reported by Broadly, “that we’ll run until ALL men have learned how to behave themselves?”

What started as a tweet has evolved into something much bigger. Knyckare took to Instagram to share further developments, where she said “Sweden’s first man-free rock festival will see the light next summer.” She’s currently scouting talented organizers and project leaders to bring her idea to a reality.

På en festival nära dig… 📷 @annikaberglundphoto

A post shared by Bråvalla Festival (@bravallafestival) on

Not much is done at festivals to prevent this kind of behaviour and keep the festival’s female patrons safe. A 2015 Broadly article put it poignantly, “there’s a rape problem at music festivals and no one seems to care.” More needs to be done to keep women safe, and this starts at the very base level. Men need to be educated properly about consent and the treatment of women, because it’s a systemic problem and starts from birth.

Festival staff, along with attendees and the general population need to be trained on spotting sexual harassment and how to respond appropriately without heightening a victim’s trauma.

Fixing the problem isn’t an overnight change, but these women are hitting the ground running and doing what they can.