Annual Swedish music festival on hiatus because of sexual assaults

One of Sweden's largest annual music festivals announced that it is cancelling next year's event due multiple sexual assaults at the last two events.
By Linda Mack | Jul 04, 2017
One of Sweden's largest annual music festivals announced that it is cancelling next year's event due multiple sexual assaults at the last two events. The Bravalla Festival, which ran last week from Wednesday to Saturday in Norrkping and featured The Killers as well as Swedish DJ Alesso, DJ duo The Chainsmokers, and other international acts, is postponing the festival until concert organizers and local authorities can ensure that future concert goers will all be safe.

"Words cannot describe how incredibly sad we are about this, and we most seriously regret and condemn this," said a press release on the festival's website on Saturday. "This is not f-ing okay. We do not accept this at our festival."

This year's festival witnessed one case of rape during a performance by Swedish artist Hakan Hellstrom, as well as 11 cases of groping and sexual assault. This follows five reported rapes and 12 sexual assaults at Bravalla Festival 2016.

The event organizers are under pressure from some of the artists over the problem also. Mumford and Sons performed at Bravalla last year but posted on Facebook afterward that they would not perform there 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 assault."

Sweden is grappling with rising frequency of reported sexual assault in general. The We Are STHLM youth festival reported last year that girls at its events had been victims of groping for two years running. And statistics indicate higher incidence of sexual assault in recent years nationwide than in years past, although experts debate whether there really is more crime or if there are just more victims coming forward to report it.

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