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Music festival websites go on shutdown to campaign against sexual assault

Over 25 music festival sites are turning off for a day on Monday (8 May) as part of a zero-tolerance campaign highlighting sexual assaults at the events.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has told festivalgoers to be aware of on-site support services that are available to victims.

The hope is to raise awareness of sexual assault. Two women in 2016 were raped at Reading Festival, say police. Bestival, Parklife and Secret Garden Party are among the festivals that have signed up to the Safer Spaces Campaign.

“It’s raising awareness and letting audiences know that if something were to happen, they can report it on site,” said Renae Brown, campaign manager at the AIF. “This is something we should be talking about at festivals. We want people to look out for each other.”

“Festivals can be crazy spaces and we’re proud that they’re places to let off steam but there are limits and rules as there are in general society,” said Rob da Bank, the promoter of Bestival. “We just want everyone to be aware and it’s great that some of the UK’s biggest festivals have signed up to this.

The campaign is supported by Rape Crisis England & Wales, Girls Against and Safe Gigs For Women (SGFW).

“It’s a positive message and not a scary one. Everyone should be able to go to festivals and enjoy them,” added de Bank.

The websites will be black out for 24 hours from 9am on Monday.