Last weekend the world’s first major ‘men-free’ festival was held in Gothenburg, Sweden in response to sexual offences reported at music events in the country last year.
The idea of a ‘for women only’ festival was thought up by Swedish comedian Emma Knyckare after sexual offences at Sweden’s biggest music festival Bravalla 2017. It claims to be the world’s first festival exclusively for women, trans and non-binary people.
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Cis-men and cis-women
As well as barring cis men from entry, the new festival only included performances by women, transgender and non-binary artists. Even catering and security personnel were women only.
Cisgender is the opposite of transgender. The term cis-man or cis-woman applies to an individual whose gender matches their assigned sex at birth, whereas a trans or non-binary person is someone whose gender or gender-identity differs.
“We simply want that women, non-binaries and transgender to be able to visit an awesome festival and feel safe at the same time,” said Emma Knyckare and adds, “I had no idea how much work was involved in organizing a music festival, now I know.”
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World’s first ‘men-free’ festival held in Sweden
When questioned on how organizers were going to stop men getting in, Mis Knyckare said, “No-one will be questioned at the entrance, but the festival has hired a specialized security company to develop a specialized ‘access system’.”
To finance the festival, Knyckare and her team first collected donations via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, raising half a million Swedish krona. As many as 300,000 people gave money, which laid the foundations for the festival and a further budget was provided by means of sponsors.
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Music and comedy
The event featured musical performances from former Eurovision Song Contest winner Loreen, Frida Hyvönen, Joy, Beatrice Eli, Maxida Märak and Tami T. Comedians also played at the festival, including Nour El Refai, Petrina Solange, and Josefin Johansson.
The organizers have a long-term goal of allowing cis men to attend the event.
World’s First ‘Men-Free’ Festival Held in Sweden, written by Tor Kjolberg