A Swedish Music Festival is taking to heart the Michelle Obama mantra of “when they go low, we go high” with a gendered twist. A few days have passed since the organizers of Sweden’s four-day Bravalla festival announced their cancellation of next year’s event after news broke that four rapes and 23 reports of sexual assault happened at this year’s iteration of the fest. “Certain men … apparently cannot behave,” said organizers in a report. “It’s a shame.”
This isn't the first time this has happened, either—last year’s festival was plagued by five reported rapes and dozens of sexual assaults. It also reflects a larger trend within the music festival circuit of rampant sexual assault. Last year, at the Swedish festival Putte i Parken, 35 women were reportedly groped on their breasts or genitals or sexually assaulted.
— Tanja Reintjes (@tpreintjes) July 2, 2017
Rather than go without a music festival next year, Swedish radio host Emma Knyckare tweeted that she wanted to see “a really cool festival where only non-men are welcome” that would go “until ALL men have learned how to behave.” Now, she’s making that dream a reality. She has since written on Instagram that a “man-free” festival will take place next summer. "In the coming days I'll bring together a solid group of talented organisers and project leaders to form the festival organisers,” she told BBC. “Then you'll hear from everyone again when it's time to move forward."
The “man free” festival idea follows the Womyn’s Musical Festival that was regularly held in Michigan for nearly four decades. That festival was a haven for lesbians and queer women, but ultimately shuttered after protests against its trans-exclusive policy. The Swedish festival hasn’t announced specifics in regards to how transgender communities will integrate into the man ban, but we’d expect them to be a bit more flexible.