In January, the organisers of Laneway festival announced they would be setting up a dedicated hotline at each of their venues to help female punters combat abuse and sexual harassment at their festival. It was inspired by a 2016 initiative launched by the Melbourne band Camp Cope, which called on the music community to band together against what seems to be a worrying increase in reported instances of physical assault at rock shows.
For women who love live music, this seemed like a lifetime in the making. Unwanted advances and sexual harassment and assault have been synonymous with dark, sweaty gigs for so long they almost blurred the lines of acceptability until enough people decided to speak out against them. I have been lucky enough to work with many exceptional women across the music industry, many of whom are my friends. Not one of them can recall a long stretch of time when they weren’t harassed, either verbally or physically, at a live gig.
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