London based music promoters The Music Federation have launched their new Safe Spaces Policy in response to the recent surge in cases of spiking that women across the UK have experienced within the live sector. In partnership with Strut Safe and Girls Against, TMF’s policy has a three-part structure providing guidance for post, during and after show an event, as well as guidance on what to do if attendees feel uncomfortable at a TMF show or if they witness harassment of any kind.
We caught up with Jasmine Hodge, Head of Promotions at TMF, to talk about implementing their new policy, how important it is to be proactive when it comes to harassment at gigs, and their anticipations for their charity gig with Lily Moore, Gracey & Sody, hosted by Abbie McCarthy on 31st Jan at Colours in Hoxton…
Let’s get a bit of background on you…how did you start working with The Music Federation and can you explain briefly what you do?
Jasmine: Myself, Sam Hong and Rebecca Sangs (who all co-created the safe space policy!) all work for The Music Federation. I am Head of Promotions and work across all our signed artists, festivals and partner labels helping promote them across all media platforms. Sam is our Head of Live and Rebecca is his live assistant, they are responsible for all our live shows and festivals. The Music Federation itself is a community of festivals, artists, labels and partners that launched about 6 months ago. We are building a group of likeminded people who want to be the change that the music industry needs. (You can read about us in Music Week here!)”
Our website is here.
You’ve just launched your new Safe Space Policy for TMF today. Can you explain what a Safe Space looks and feels like to you? And can you talk us through some of the key points of your policy?
Jasmine: I (and most women in the industry) have experienced some form of harassment at live shows/festivals, whether that be from industry professionals or just gig attendees. In the past, I have been too apprehensive to report this or take further action due to this being seen as the “industry standard”. Since working at TMF, I have never felt more confident in our senior management, partners, and wonderful live department to take any accusations seriously. This has filled me with hope that the industry is changing for the better. We want to make sure other people feel as confident as I do in reporting incidents and being listened to.
The music industry has swept sexual harassment under the carpet for too long. It’s not on anymore. For women in the industry, it’s harassment in the workplace. If this was an office space and a guy came up behind me and unclipped my bra, groped me, or asked me to get changed in front of them, there would be procedures in place to get him fired – all of those things mentioned have happened to me. Why does the music industry not have this? We need to have people ready to call this behaviour out, to actually ban these predators from future shows and to actively support the person who had this happen to them. We are building our new community and those people are not invited.
Some of our points in the policy include having a rep on site (of which we will advertise on social media prior to the event) who will be there to help with any accusation, requesting male and female security guards, partnering with Girls Against and Strut Safe etc. We are also looking into online reporting structures post-event for anyone who didn’t feel comfortable to say something at the time. We are aware that this policy will be forever evolving as times change, so we welcome all suggestions to improve. We are also having regular in-house meetings to discuss any suggestions made to us.
As you mentioned, you’ve launched this new policy in partnership with Strut Safe, Girls Against and The F-List – all great organisations we support here at GIHE. Talk us through how you connected with these platforms and what input they had into the policy…
Jasmine: We reached out to them in the first instance to get their opinions on our policy and wording. We wanted as many eyes on this as possible and are happy for this to develop in the public eye. These organisations do such amazing things, and their expertise is something we really wanted to use. We are also in talks with other amazing organisations such as The Music Assistant to be partners for our larger events, which we are really excited about!
There is the saying that “too many cooks spoil the broth”, but in this case, we want as many “cooks” as possible. This is a joint effort, and we want to work with those who are wanting change as much as we are.
TMF have also organised a charity gig with Lily Moore, Gracey & Sody, hosted by Abbie McCarthy in aid of Strut Safe on 31st Jan at Colours in Hoxton. Talk me through your anticipations for this event…
Sam: We are really hoping to promote our Safe Spaces Policy alongside raising awareness, raising money & supporting the important work that Strut Safe have done and continue to do. For anyone who doesn’t know, Strut Safe is a free, non-judgemental volunteer service dedicated to walking anyone who needs us home safely. To be able to add a charity aspect to this and help aid the safety of women in live music spaces is so vital to what we believe at TMF as well, so being involved in this show with such amazing musicians as well as our curator Abbie McCarthy is a great sign of positive change, and we hope to keep up that energy.
Finally, the work you’re doing with TMF and implementing your Safe Space Policy is vital, but it’s also a difficult thing to process and speak about. How have you found the process overall?
Jasmine: I understand that these are difficult conversations to have but honestly, I have not felt uncomfortable speaking to anyone at TMF about this. By changing the stigma that surrounds it and having open and honest discussions, it has been very rewarding and comforting to discuss this.
The most important element of this to me is having men who actually listen. I am very lucky to work with a company that not only has men who listen, but ones who are actively trying to support women (without being reminded). For example, I have curated a compilation album that is coming out in February which is entirely female, non-binary and LGBTQ+ artists to raise money for Reclaim These Streets. A company that allows you to spend your working hours curating that is pretty rad!
Thanks to Jasmine and The Music Federation for their time!
Read their full Safe Space Policy here.