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AEMCON 2018- Creating Dynamic Events & Safe Spaces - Festie Vibes

What I learned at AEMCON- Part 1

Creating Dynamic Events & Safe Spaces

Creating Dymanic Events Panel at AEMCON 2018
With 2018 coming to an end, and such movements taking hold such as the “#metoo” and “Call-Out Culture” bringing the awareness of the need for safe spaces and strong communities, AEMCON took it upon themselves to create some amazing panels such as “Moving Beyond Call-Out Culture”, “Harm Reduction 101” and “Creating Dynamic Events” which have really dove deep into these topics with the help of some experts within our industry.
Harm Reduction 101
Some of the things that I learned, or affirmed during these workshops included;
  • Believe and support the victims or those effected by abuse FIRST and foremost. Look to create a safe space around these people by offering comfort, compassion, resources and moral support.
  • If there is dangerous behavior being presented, it is imperative to “call out the behavior and not the person”. When given the opportunity, try to reach out to the people involved to create a space to discuss this behavior, offer support, guidance and someone to hold them accountable. Try to “call the person in vs calling someone out”, and try to find some solutions on how they can be a stronger individual in our community.
  • Be a name that your community can trust! Align your politics with your brand. What do you stand for? Be decisive! As strong community leaders, we have the ability to create healthy communities built on respect, trust, inclusion in a peaceful and loving way. When people come to your events, they should be able to trust that your team has a clear vision, and that the event that’s been curated for you will be something to remember, no matter who the headlining or supporting artists are.
Moving Beyond "Call Out Culture"
  • We are stronger together! When we collaborate with other producers and promoters, we are given the opportunity to reduce competition, splitting our audience and risking losing money by offering similar events on the same night. Reach out to other members of your community, grow your network of support, offer your services or insight when possible and go to each other’s events!
  • Amplify your community! Create space for local and up-and-coming artists to open and headline your events. This creates local buzz, community building, networking opportunities and the ability to create a name for yourself and your city as promoting amazing local talent!
  • Help build-up the youth and emerging artists, especially marginalized groups or those who struggle to be recognized or given opportunities. Create jam spaces, mentoring workshops, events or one-on-one time. Can you offer your skills in person, or online to a wider demographic? What would you have liked to have seen when you were first breaking into the industry?          Sharing is caring!
Photo by Joffreyphoto.com
  • Embrace your team as a reflection of your organization, as they are the “face” of your events after all. Ensure you’ve chosen volunteers and staff who will represent your company both on and off-site, as your reputation extends past the walls of your venue. This can include the artists you book, your management and front line teams, your security, and the venue or location you choose.
Center for Sexuality- Calgary
The MOST IMPORTANT piece I took out of these specific workshops was to HAVE A PLAN and stick with it! While creating your events, put together protocols around your risk analysis plans. Please consider these aspects;
  • What constitutes a “Safe Space” to your team? Brainstorm ideas on what “best practices” can be used, what skills or experience each team member may bring to the table to create your “Harm Reduction” plan. Reach out to others in your community who are doing this well and ask for advice!
  • What are some of the signs that someone is in distress? How do we approach people in a loving and compassionate way, with harm reduction in mind? Do we hire “party patrol” and/or on site Harm Reduction teams, or are these positions we hire within our current team? Who is responsible for health and safety to your patrons?
  • Are your team members properly licensed and trained security, bartenders and harm reduction? Are you able to prove “due diligence” to prevent harm and abuse to your patrons and staff?
  • What do we do if someone reports sexual or physical assault, either at your venue, ahead of time or after the fact? What team members are in charge of handling these complaints?
  • What do we do if a team member, an artist or security are accused of assault? How do we proceed moving forward to protect those involved?
Photo by Braiden Schmidt
  • Do we have an “incident report” form or way to document events to keep track of occurrences?
  • Who speaks with the person who reported the event? What is their “ideal outcome” of how they would like to proceed? What can your team do to protect and support this community member?
  • How do you approach the person who has been accused of physical or sexual assault? What team members are involved? How will it be documented? Will there be a professional moderator available? Who incurs costs of any mediation expenses? What is the “ideal outcome” of the situation?
  • When do police and authorities become involved? What documentation will you provide about the event or situation? What team members will be responsible for interactions with authority?
  • How do we proceed if this person “refuses accountability”, victim blames or acts in a violent or demeaning way? What protocols are in place to remove or ban someone from your venue or event? Is there a “path to redemption” for them, depending on the circumstances and what those involved are looking for?
  • How do we comply with local laws, by-laws and authority within the community? Who is responsible in creating strong working relationships with these people?
Calgary Party Safe
It’s imperative that we take community safety serious and understand that unfortunately abuses have bred under the surface, even in well meaning and loving communities such as the Electronic music scene. By creating strong action plans, speaking with and training your staff, creating protocols, mission statements and a vision for your team and event, you’re equipping your team with the know how of how to create healthy and community oriented events where people can shake off the stresses of every day life, be their authentic weirdo selves and connect with other like-minded individuals looking to do the same!
Please, if you have anything to add, any comments, suggestions, tools, resources or knowledge, feel free to add to our comment section
Much love, and I look forward to all of the “upgrades” that the 2018-2019 festival and event scene has in store,

Kayla Healey
Festie Vibes Founder

Festie Vibes is a festival and event based social media platform, media and marketing and roster management company, operating out of British Columbia, Canada.

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