Music is the world’s universal language. It connects people, and gives them outlets for their emotions, artistic talent, or sociopolitical commentary. Music festivals are supposed to be places where people who are passionate about creating and sharing music can gather together to celebrate and forget all of the world’s dreariness for a weekend. However, tragedy struck Swedish music festivals Bravalla in Norrkoping and Putte | Parken in Karlstad as dozens of women reported being sexually assaulted, with one victim being as young as 12.
Stereogum reports that seven men are currently being sought for committing 32 sexual assaults at Putte | Parken. In Norrkoping, police are investigating 5 rape cases as well as numerous sexual assault cases.
Bravalla headliner and folk superstars Mumford & Sons made a statement on their Facebook page condemning the attacks, saying they will not perform at the festival ever again unless additional security measures are put in place. Another Bravalla headliner, Zara Larsson, was quick to denounce the assaults. Following the attacks, the Swedish musician tweeted out in her native tongue, expressing her extreme distaste for the rape culture that allows for these assaults to happen.
Swedish police had been handing out anti-groping campaign bracelets at the beginning of Sweden’s festival season. The move has been criticized as ineffective and inefficient towards solving the problem. The fact that such a campaign had to be created in the first place shows how big of a problem sexual assault is at Swedish music festivals.