We're starting a conversation about harassment and safety at Madison shows.
For a long time now we've been wanting to do something that connects Madison with the larger conversation about the lower level of safety and respect that women, gender non-conforming people, and people of color often face at shows and in the music community generally. In the past few years, we've seen bands like Speedy Ortiz address harassment at shows head-on, prominent independent musicians and music-business professionals increasingly held accountable for sexual assault, and of course, we have a presidential candidate openly bragging about sexual assault, showing just how deeply ingrained sexism and sexual violence are in American culture.
On a positive note, more people in the music community, including right here in Madison, have been working to create settings where people can enjoy music in a safe atmosphere, and of course there was that missed connection about a woman fending off a bunch of gross dudes on the dance floor at Merchant.
Simply writing an article and sharing it around just doesn’t seem like the best way to tell this story as it relates to Madison. Instead, we feel we need to get as many voices involved as possible. So we're launching a project called Consent, Amplified to do just that. To start the conversation, we are doing two things:
One, on November 15 at Arts + Literature Laboratory, we're hosting a panel discussion, moderated by Madison journalist Emily Mills, in which women from across Madison's music community (no dudes are on the panel) will discuss issues of safety and harassment and how to address them.
Second, we're looking for people to share stories about their experiences and their ideas for making Madison's music community a safer, more equitable place. We plan to incorporate what people send us into posts leading up to and following the panel discussion, and will incorporate some of it into the panel event as well. You can share these things with us one of two ways: In writing, through our Typeform survey, or in audio form, by recording yourself on your phone's voice-memo app and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Responses will be kept 100% anonymous, except when people expressly tell us they want their names attached.
Our hope is that the Consent, Amplified will give Madisonians a better understanding of the inequalities that exist within the music community, and compel more people to tackle those issues head-on. If you have any thoughts about how we can improve this effort, please email us.