It's festival season in the 514! Hands down the best time of year.
Though, with the festival season comes a lot of concerns about public safety. In years prior, festivals like Osheaga - which is now the top festival in Canada - have come under fire for their lack of safety and support to women.
Some sobering stories have come out about women who had been drugged and /or raped. I, myself, have heard multiple stories from my lady friends about assault or harassment, being grabbed at festivals, and just about the rape culture mentality among these environments in general.
To sum it up - these festivals are breeding grounds for the "duder type of bros" that don't respect women, or people, in general.
This just covers one aspect of the personal safety issues one can experience at a massively populated festival such as Osheaga.
Drug use also runs rampant, and with the steady rise of fentanyl-laced drugs in Canada, overdoses and people taking recreational drugs to have a good time with little to no knowledge of what they're doing - problems of safety and health can rise up.
Today (June 14), evenko confirmed their partnership for 2018 with Les Hirondelles, who will "deploy their wings" of safety on all its festivals throughout the year.
Les Hirondelles intervention security teams are made up of specialized interveners, some of them in sexology. They will be on hand to increase the security of women and vulnerable people in Montreal's outdoor festivals.
The Hirondelles, or swallows, are easily identifiable by their logo. You'll find this logo on their armbands, on posters, in dedicated safe-spaces on the festival sites - they're hard to miss!
Evenko festivals will implement many safety initiatives at their festivals in 2018 to ensure the well-being and safety of all festival -goers.
Some of these safety initiatives include:
- Presence on the sites of various teams of interventions: first aid rescuers, paramedics, nurses and watch team aiming to detect the festival-goers who seem in distress
- Mobilization of a medical emergency service including the service of doctors and nurses able to treat and prioritize cases
- Psychologist/sexologist to intervene with people requiring special care
- Permanent presence of Urgency Health
- Safe and well-identified rest areas at different locations
- Complementary training for all staff to identify problematic situations and raise awareness of the various issues related to safety
Additionally, many security measures are in place for 2018:
- Systematic excavation of festival-goers, guests, and employees
- Installation of physical security devices such as concrete blocks at various access points
- Police presence near the entrance for the purpose of security prevention and the interception of narcotics
- Training and awareness of security and reception staff on vigilance and security procedures
So, here's to hoping that this year women and festival-goers, in general, will be in a safer space.
Remember, guys, Osheaga and all festivals in Montreal are meant to be a celebration! Still, celebrating in a safety conscious way is the first step to ensuring you have the most incredible festival experience you can have!
If you haven't gotten your Osheaga festival passes yet, you can find information on that right here!