Organizers of Sweden’s largest music festival have canceled the 2018 event after failing to stop sexual assaults.
More than 50,000 people visit the Bråvalla Festival each year. Organizers stepped up their efforts against violence after five rapes and 14 cases of sexual assault were reported in 2016.
With three rapes and 22 sexual assaults reported by the festival’s conclusion Saturday night, the festival’s founder said he can no longer allow the festival to go on.
“I’ve had enough. Violence kills the festival experience, the love for music and, beyond anything else, it hurts people,” Folkert Koopmans, the founder of Bråvalla Festival, said in a press release.
The festival further said the decision should be seen as a clear remark that sexual violence can’t be tolerated.
“It’s not that we can’t handle the problem or that the problem only exists at festivals, it’s about taking a stand,” Kajsa Apelqvist, the festival’s head of communications told Aftonbladet.
Prime Minister Stefan Lofven called for a wider effort to stop sexual assaults at festivals and concerts.
“I get so upset and we need to stop this,” Lofven said Sunday. “We’re demanding police get better at solving these types of crimes. We’re also looking at ways to increase video surveillance.”
British band Mumford & Sons vowed to boycott the festival after being one of the headliners in 2016.
“We won’t play at this festival again until we’ve had assurances from the police and organizers that they’re doing something to combat what appears to be a disgustingly high rate of reported sexual violence,” the band said on its Facebook page after the 2016 festival.
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