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FKP Scorpio boss responds to reports of sexual offences at Bravalla festival

By | Published on Friday 8 July 2016


The promoter of Sweden’s Bravalla festival, FKP Scorpio, has responded to reports of a number of rapes and sexual assaults at last weekend’s event. This follows increasing pressure to act from both media and some key artists who performed at the festival.

As previously reported, Mumford & Sons said that they would boycott the festival until guarantees were made on safety, while Zara Larsson criticised audience members for not stepping in to stop attacks, some of which happened in front of stages.

Though FKP Scorpio chief exec Folkert Koopmans told IQ that the number of sexual assaults at the event appeared higher than they actually were, due to the way such crimes are reported in Sweden. Upon investigation, he said that none of the five reported incidents of rape turned out to be so. He added that organisers already went to great lengths to ensure the safety of attendees, but that security would nevertheless be stepped up further at next year’s festival.

“In Sweden we work very hard to protect women, and therefore the police initially report many kinds of sexual crimes as rape”, said Koopmans. “The law was created to protect the victims, and Swedish women are encouraged to stand up and report any type of sexual harassment – much more so compared to most other countries. As a result we receive a high number of reported rapes and other incidents”.

“We had five incidents during the festival”, he confirmed. “Three of them happened in front of the stages – sexual harassment – and two of them were reported from couples who actually knew each other. Both of those cases have been taken back”.

He did not address the other twelve reports of sexual assault that have also been reported in the press this week.

Saying that police had described the event as “the safest and calmest Bravalla festival ever”, he admitted that there had nevertheless been “tragic incidents that a few sick male individuals were responsible for”. He said that safety provisions had been increased already this year, but also committed to further increase security in 2017.

For the 2016 event, he said that the number of safety personnel and police officers on site had numbered 600 people, with particular priority for staffing around the stage areas. “We had safety personnel stands on raised platforms in the middle of the audience to have a good sight from above”, he explained. “We made sure that we didn’t have any dark spots on the area, and if we found any when the festival was ongoing we solved that”.

But next year there will be even more security guards on site, as well as more lights. Also, pending “permission from the authorities”, he said that there would be an HD security camera system monitoring audiences during performances.

“We will not rest until we can arrange a Bravalla festival free from all sex crimes”, he concluded, saying that education was also a key requirement in stopping incidents of this nature. “We are still evaluating what more we can do, and we will do everything in our power to stop any sexual violence at our festival”.

As well as the reports of attacks at Bravalla, there were also reports of 35 sexual assaults at another Swedish festival, Putte I Parken, with one woman telling local media that a friend had been dismissed by bouncers when she tried to report an attack.

Earlier this week, local trade body Livemusik Sveriges issued a statement, also shared by Putte I Parken organisers, saying: “We have long worked single-mindedly to prevent all forms of sexual offences and to make Swedish music festivals as safe and secure a place as possible”.

The organisation also stressed the need to remove dark areas from festival sites, and to educate audiences on consent and respect. However, it added: “Unfortunately, sexual offences are not a problem unique to festivals. On the contrary, we live in a society where we teach our children to treat women as objects that exist to be viewed, assessed and sexualised, and where boys are brought up into tight macho norms and learn to take more space than girls. ‘Boys will be boys'”.

“To change this requires work on a broad front”, it continued, saying that there was no quick fix to change longstanding societal norms. “That reports of sexual crimes are increasing is a sign that more people are becoming aware that there actually is a crime, and therefore dare to speak up. It is not a certain type of person who commits these crimes, but one common trait among perpetrators is that they are men. Therefore, we would encourage men to talk to each other about the limits of man’s standards and to be better able to speak up when someone behaves badly”.

“Everyone needs to stop pointing at each other and instead help build a society where everyone can feel safe and secure – everywhere”, the statement concluded.