In wake of sexual assaults, Sweden will host all-female music festival in 2018

“Sweden’s first man-free rock festival will see the light next summer.”

Alex Pall, of The Chainsmokers, performs live on stage at the Merriweather Post Pavilion on Friday, May 26, 2017, in Columbia, Maryland. CREDIT: Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP
Alex Pall, of The Chainsmokers, performs live on stage at the Merriweather Post Pavilion on Friday, May 26, 2017, in Columbia, Maryland. CREDIT: Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP

On Saturday, festival organizers announced that Bråvalla, billed as “the biggest music festival in Sweden,” would be canceled for 2018. The news came after this year’s affair saw a spree of sexual violence: Four rapes and 23 sexual assaults that allegedly took place on site during the three-day event, according to Östergötland police.

The festival kicked off June 28 and ran through July 1. Featured acts included The Killers, The Chainsmokers, and Linkin Park.

The organizers explained the call to cancel, as the Guardian reported, like so: “Certain men… apparently cannot behave. It’s a shame. We have therefore decided to cancel Bråvalla 2018.”

But in the news that Bråvalla would be no more, Swedish radio presenter and comedian Emma Knyckare saw an opportunity. She tweeted: “What do you think about putting together a really cool festival where only non-men are welcome, that we’ll run until ALL men have learned how to behave themselves?”

She confirmed the plan on her Instagram (translation via The Independent):

“Sweden’s first man-free rock festival will see the light next summer. In the coming days I’ll bring together a solid group of talented organizers and project leaders to form the festival organizers, then you’ll hear from everyone again when it’s time to move forward.”

If the rash of alleged assaults at Bråvalla sounds familiar, that’s probably because the annual festival saw similar attacks last year: Five women were raped at the festival in 2016, according to local media reports. Headliner Mumford and Sons released a statement following their performance declaring they were “appalled” and “gutted by these hideous reports,” promising they wouldn’t play the festival again “until we’ve had assurances from the police and organizers that they’re doing something to combat what appears to be a disgustingly high rate of reported sexual violence.”

That same year, Sweden’s Putte I Parken fest saw 32 reports of attacks by boys and young men against female attendees. Most of the victims were under 18 years old; three were under 15, and the youngest was only 12 years old. And in 2014, Swedish police were accused of covering up sexual assaults of teenage girls committed by refugees at We Are Stockholm, the largest youth festival in Europe.