Sweden to hold 'man-free' music festival

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Bravalla FestivalImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
The Bravalla festival may never take place again

Swedish comedian Emma Knyckare is organising a "man-free" music festival in her home country in response to rape and sexual assault claims at festivals.

She suggested the idea after reports of a number of sexual offences at Sweden's biggest music festival Bravalla, which has now been cancelled for next year.

"What do you think about putting together a really cool festival where only non-men are welcome?" she tweeted.

She said it would take place "until all men have learned how to behave".

A day after her initial tweet, she confirmed plans for the event to go ahead, saying: "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 organisers and project leaders to form the festival organisers, then you'll hear from everyone again when it's time to move forward."

Knyckare, who is also a radio host, denied that banning men from her festival was unfair.

She told Sweden's Aftonbladet: "Since it seems to be OK to discriminate against women all the time, maybe it's OK to shut out men for three days? I would not exactly call it an abuse not to come to the festival."

The Sisterhood

Police said they had received several reports of rapes and sexual assaults at Bravalla in the city of Norrkoping, following a similar spate of attacks at last year's event.

The festival's organisers said in a statement: "Words cannot describe how incredibly sad we are about this, and we most seriously regret and condemn this. We do not accept this at our festival."

Mumford and Sons, who headlined last year's event, said afterwards that they would not perform there again until safety had been guaranteed for female concert-goers.

There have been similar problems in England, with reports of two women being raped at last year's Reading Festival.

In May, more than 25 music festivals in the UK turned off their websites for a day as part of a zero-tolerance campaign against sexual assaults.

The idea of "man-free" zones at festivals is not new. Last year, the Glastonbury introduced its first-ever women's only venue called The Sisterhood.

Organisers said: "The producers of The Sisterhood believe that women-only spaces are necessary in a world that is still run by and designed to benefit mainly men."