This week saw the tragic news that the body of Sarah Everard, a marketing executive from South London, was found in a woodland area in Kent after last being seen walking home alone through Clapham at around 9pm at night over a week ago. The case has prompted an outpouring of shock and anger throughout the UK as women across the country share their own experiences of feeling unsafe – social media has been awash with such stories.
Many of the stories on the Belles and Gals timeline are about incidences when artists have been going home from live events, or been harassed during a live gig. As such, we feel that there are certain aspects of the industry that need discussing and some guidelines put in place. We have seen instances first hand where there has been inappropriate behaviour at live gigs – this behaviour might have been completely innocent, but it could potentially put a female artist or any female individual involved in the gig in an uncomfortable situation.
Sadly, it doesn’t just stop at live events. There’s much inappropriate behaviour online. Yes, some could claim that this happens to both male and female artists in the industry, but the predominant instances come from a male towards a female.
As such, here’s a list of guidelines for anyone in any doubt as to what is appropriate:
At a live event, when the event has finished, could people attending the gigs please leave. At Belles and Gals gigs, and many other events we attend, there is always a time to meet the artists after the event. The artists will come out and chat, sign merchandise and have their picture taken. That is the time to interact with the artist. if you’re hanging around AFTER the event, aiming to accompany an artist to the station/to their car/on their walk home, this is not appropriate. They will have already made plans on how to get home, but by asking to accompany them you are putting the artist in a very uncomfortable position. Yes, you might be genuinely be trying to help the artist in question and concerned about their safety – but that is still not appropriate.
Do not ask where artists are going to after the event. Do not ask artists which hotel they are staying at.
If you are going to message an artist on social media, please keep it relevant to the fact that their social media pages are there for professional purposes.
- If you message an artist to tell them how attractive you find them, it’s not appropriate.
- If you message an artist to ask them out on a date, it’s not appropriate.
- If you message an artist with an explicit images, it’s not appropriate.
Many artists will absolutely welcome messages about their music and engage in conversations around their songs, lyrics and future plans. If you see messaging an artist as the start of ‘a dating game’, it’s completely inappropriate.
It’s very clear that 99% of gig goers and fans don’t exhibit any inappropriate behaviour at all, however, it’s good for all fans to be armed with this information, as it might enable them to spot such instances and challenge them.
We’d also like to invite a discussion with any artists in the industry as to how both live and online spaces could be made safer.
Nick Cantwell – Managing Director
Liam Lewis – Director of Operations
Samantha Melrose – Director of Communications