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Statement Music Festival Cancelled Amid Rumors Of Male “Pigpens”

Making a “statement” for sure.

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We can all agree that in the past year or so, major action has been taken against “toxic masculinity” and the power some men think they hold over women’s bodies. Those men who have treated women inappropriately have gotten what they deserve, including lawsuits and jail time. But some think that’s not enough. The organizers of the Statement Music Festival, for instance, think even more drastic measures should be taken.

The Statement Festival was held this past summer in Gothenburg, Sweden. The event is for women, non-binary, and transgender persons only. Cis-men are completely barred from entering – as both attendees and performers. The festival originally came into being with the intent to avoid the rape and sexual assaults common at past Swedish music festivals.

This all sounds great…in theory. But the event and its organizers have now come under fire for discrimination. The festival that was supposed to prevent discrimination is now guilty of violating anti-discrimination laws. Ironic isn’t it?

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The festival eventually allowed entrance to men, but this is where it gets messy. Cis-gendered males at the festival – artists, technicians, entourage members – were subjected to a backstage “man pen”. The enclosure was equated to a pigpen, and this is when Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman got involved. Despite the festival’s moral intentions, the agency deemed the actions at this festival towards men were discriminatory. The Ombudsman released the following statement:

“It was a violation of the prohibition of discrimination when the website of the music festival Statement and in statements from representatives of the festival revealed that cis-men would not be allowed to enter the festival.

On the other hand, the investigation does not support any person being discriminated against in connection with the festival’s implementation.”

The statement makes no mention of the supposed “pigpen”. Was it a fabrication by some upset cis-males who wanted to attend the concert? We’ll never know for sure. Regardless, the Statement festival has been cancelled for next year in spite of the creators claiming this event ceased instances of rape or sexual assault.

The festivals’ organizers have not revealed what they will be doing instead of Statement. Apparently, however, the developers are “too busy changing the world” to be mad about this squabble. While the sentiment was there, we wouldn’t say the Statement Festival was the most progressive of events. Perhaps their energy would be better suited towards creating music festivals that promoted safety and equality rather than rumors of pigpens.

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