GrooveSafe Promotes Education Around Consent At Live Music Events

This article may contain sensitive subject matter.

By Team JamBase Apr 4, 2023 2:33 pm PDT

In acknowledgment of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, JamBase wants to draw attention to the important work being done by GrooveSafe within the live music community.

GrooveSafe is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based around the initiative to stop harassment, and sexual misconduct in live entertainment spaces and anywhere that large crowds gather.

This unwanted and unwelcome behavior is a serious problem and damages the wonderful experience of live entertainment.

Founded in 2017 after experiencing numerous negative first-hand interactions, Ashley Driscoll founded GrooveSafe with the aim to emphasize respect for personal boundaries, educate people on prevention/de-escalation skills, and create no-tolerance environments with the ultimate goal of building consent culture.

Consent is agreeing to something without influence; this includes touching someone’s body without their permission. This happens way more often than people may see or hear about.

Nationwide, 81% of women and 43% of men have reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime ( Harassment can occur in many different forms, ranging from uninvited comments on someone’s body, groping, sexual gestures, being followed or recorded, and even spiking drinks.

While GrooveSafe is a gender-neutral movement, women and marginalized people are statistically more likely to be a victim. A 2018 study discovered that 92% of female music fans reported being sexually harassed at a music event (Our Music My Body).

GrooveSafe is committed to building a community that is informed and aware of the issues that happen frequently at events. By educating attendees, venue staff, and performance artists a more formidable level of protection is ensured for the audience.

It truly takes the whole community to start to make changes to improve, and the first step is to grasp the concept of an active bystander or how you can take action during a show.

Driscoll explains, “Not everyone can see everything that happens and we at GrooveSafe don’t expect every single person to be on call or on duty at all times, but it is reasonable to scan your horizon and if someone looks uneasy, something is probably off. If we are all taking a few minutes to check around us, then we can work together to identify issues in our space.”

Oftentimes we hear “If you see something, say something,” but can be unsure of exactly how to take action. GrooveSafe has developed some active bystander tips for live show settings to help people get involved safely if they witness someone being harassed or experiencing discomfort at a show.

Because every situation is different, it’s important to choose a course of action you’re comfortable with in the moment. Some GrooveSafe de-escalation skills include the following.

Interrupt: Create a distraction to interrupt the moment by asking a question. If a victim needs you, they will stay engaged.

Check-In: Calmly approach the victim after the incident and validate their experience by letting them know you witnessed their negative encounter.

Get Help: Enlist the aid of someone nearby, delegate a friend, or find a staff member if the situation requires further assistance.

Confront: Address the harasser directly by calling them out on their behavior without creating more of an issue for the victim.

GrooveSafe has a free Bystander 101 training on their website where you can learn the details on the best ways to intervene.

So far in 2023, GrooveSafe has worked on Umphrey’s McGee’s 25th-anniversary tour, Goose’s spring tour opener, Distance Makes the Heart tour with Twiddle, and Dogs In A Pile and One Time Weekend joined as artist ambassadors. Fans will be able to find GrooveSafe with Phish on their spring tour opener in Seattle at Climate Change Arena on April 14th and 15th. Look for some new partnership announcements later this spring.

Consent culture movement starts with a conversation, which leads to education. The more educated and aware our community becomes, the greater the likelihood more fans will adopt a zero-tolerance policy and work toward long-lasting change where anyone can feel safe at concerts or other environments with large crowds.

GrooveSafe is actively recruiting volunteers to help at events and others to help grow the initiative. Artists, venues, and fans can learn how to take action here. The charitable organization also encourages donors to support this movement. Donations fund research and development as well as training and outreach. This problem is rampant and GrooveSafe will continue to press for change.

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