Calling Out Concert Creeps


As I watched DJ TIIIIIIIIIIP announce the imminent arrival of Yung Gravy, I expected him to launch into a standard hype man routine of audience call and responses. I was not disappointed. After he played Gwen Stefani’s iconic bop “Hollaback Girl” the energy in the venue hit the perfect point for a potentially wild show, but TIIIIIIIIIIP was not done yet. Before Gravy mounted the stage, his DJ delivered a clear message to his audience: no matter how wild the pit got, everyone still had to ask consent before laying a hand on anyone. If anyone saw something gross happening, they had to call it out or report it to the staff. No exceptions. Given the subject matter Yung Gravy raps about, this announcement did take me by surprise, but it was nice to see a performer take an active stance against one of the biggest issues in music.

For all the positive energy and fun one can experience at a good concert, small venues and major festivals have always had a severe problem with sexual assault. The issue is so widespread that a 2018 survey by the British survey company YouGov found that 22 percent of music festival attendees had experienced some form of sexual harassment during a concert. Despite that overwhelming statistic, this has largely remained a silent issue. To see an artist directly requesting their fans to call out these behaviors is a great stride forward in making concerts a safer space, but as fans we cannot allow that support to be the extent of the action.

As these statistics are now providing concrete evidence of the issue, various activist groups such as the nonprofit Safe Gigs for Women have started reaching out to festival organizers looking to create safer spaces for attendees. If you are not a regular concertgoer but you still want to support change in this industry, I recommend donating to their cause. If you have been sexually assaulted and are looking for resources to aid you, I recommend calling the U.S Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. If you are not comfortable calling, the hotline also has an online chat function through their website.