Bestival and Secret Garden Party among those joining the campaign
Julian Marszalek
10:51 5th May 2017

Bestival and Secret Garden Party are two of over 25 music festivals that will turn off their websites for one day on Monday, May 8, in support of a new zero-tolerance campaign to raise awareness of sexual assaults at festivals.

The BBC reports that the Safer Spaces campaign has been launched by the Association Of Independent Festivals (AIF) to highlight the on-site support services that are available to victims of sexual assault at music festivals.

The AIF stresses that there is no evidence of any widespread problem.

"It's raising awareness and letting audiences know that if something were to happen, they can report it on site," says Renae Brown, campaign manager at the AIF.

"This is something we should be talking about at festivals. We want people to look out for each other."

"Festivals can be crazy spaces and we're proud that they're places to let off steam but there are limits and rules as there are in general society," added Bestival boss Rob da Bank.

"We just want everyone to be aware and it's great that some of the UK's biggest festivals have signed up to this. It's a positive message and not a scary one. Everyone should be able to go to festivals and enjoy them."

More than 60 AIF members have also signed up to charter of best practice. This has been created to ensure that festival staff and volunteers are trained to deal with sexual violence and how to best assist any victims.

The campaign is supported by groups including Rape Crisis England & Wales, Girls Against and Safe Gigs For Women [SGFW].

"I know people that no longer feel comfortable going to festivals because of unwanted sexual attention," says Sarah Claudine from SGFW. "We don't want that to be the case at all. People should be able to go and enjoy live music without the fear of being assaulted or harassed in anyway."

The websites will be blacked out for 24 hours from 9am on Monday, May 8.