‘Cis man-free’ music festival gets under way in Sweden

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The festival was created as a safe space after sexual offences at festivals in 2017

A “cis man-free” festival is under way in Sweden, as a response to the sexual offences reported at events in 2017.

The Statement music festival in Gothenburg says it is the world’s first major music gathering for women, transgender and non-binary only.

The idea was thought up by Swedish comedian Emma Knyckare after sexual offences at Sweden’s biggest music festival Bravalla last year.

“The whole area is free of cis-men,” Ms Knyckare said.

“We work exclusively with women, non-binary and transgender persons,” the first-time festival host told Euronews. “This ranges from artists to catering to security personnel.”

Cisgender is the opposite of transgender. The term cis-man or cis-woman applies to an individual whose gender matches their assigned sex at birth, whereas a trans or non-binary person is someone whose gender or gender-identity differs.

“No-one will be questioned at the entrance,” Ms Knyckare said, when questioned on how organisers were going to stop men getting in, insisting the festival was working with a specialised security company to develop a specialised “access system”.

In response to the sexual assaults at Swedish music festivals in 2017, Ms Knyckare and her team set about crowd-funding the man-free festival with more than 300,000 donations.

“#MeToo has changed the debate, making it easier to organise the festival,” the comedian said, referring to the viral campaign against sexual assault and harassment.

“Now we no longer have to justify our desire to create a safe place, a free zone. [But] it’s not the solution, it’s a reaction to the problem”, she said.

The festival runs on Friday and Saturday at Bananpiren in Gothenburg.

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