In a joint statement from organisers of the upcoming Best Festival and classic Icelandic rap group Quarashi, they say that violence, especially sexual violence, will not be tolerated at the festival.
Sexual violence at outdoor festivals has become a serious problem in Iceland; serious enough for rape crisis prevention centre Stígamót to want to be a part of the festivities at the Westman Island’s famed (and notorious) bank holiday festival this year. Páll Scheving, who is in charge of organising the festival, told reporters that Stígamót’s very presence at a festival creates more problems than they solve. The remarks sparked public outrage and calls for his resignation.
The Best Festival, by contrast, has invited a group called Nei hópurinn (“the No group”) to attend the festival. Nei hópurinn, which has been around since 2003, is a group that has put its focus on men to prevent rape and be aware of their own behaviour. Workers from Nei hópurinn will be maintaining a visible presence throughout the festival, and providing help, should it be needed.
Quarashi will also be donating 500,000 ISK from their personal proceeds to Stígamót.
“Seeing as there will be up to 10 thousand people coming together at “Besta Útihátíðin” it’s the dream of the directors of the festival and of the bands that will be playing there that everyone will be able to walk away from it proudly and happily,” the statement reads in part. “Above all their collective dream is that everyone who will be attending the festival will be able to prove and show that rough violent crime does not have to be a permanent fixture when it comes to outdoor festivals like this one. “One rape, one act of violence is one too many.”
The Best Festival will be taking place from 8 to 11 July in Hella, south Iceland. You can order your tickets here.