Stockholm festival pledges ‘zero tolerance’ for groping

Organizers behind a popular summer music festival pledged zero tolerance against sexual harrassment as the event kicked off in Stockholm on Friday.

Stockholm festival pledges 'zero tolerance' for groping
The Summerburst festival in Gothenburg in May. Photo: Frida Winter/TT

Sexual harassment and assaults at festivals stirred debate in Sweden earlier this year, after reports emerged of a series of alleged groping and abuse at a teen music festival in Stockholm last summer.

Organizers behind a separate festival – Summerburst, which opened in the Swedish capital on Friday – told public broadcaster SVT that they were taking strong measures to prevent similar incidents this weekend.

“Of course it's zero tolerance,” said festival boss Anders Boström.

“If someone can't behave they will be kicked out immediately. We absolutely won't tolerate it.”

The pledge came after regional newspaper Göteborgs-posten last month wrote that a number of visitors at the festival when it was held in Gothenburg had spoken of groping incidents, abuse and chaos. However, the daily reported at the time that no official reports had been filed alleging sexual offences. 

Several people took to social media to complain of too crowded areas in front of the stage, and some reported injuries and scenes of panic. One woman wrote on the festival's Facebook event page: “I was one of the people who got trampled down, panicking, who finally got security guards to react by squeezing my way to the side fence and screaming do something now, now, now.”

Some 10,000 people are expected to attend the two-day Summerburst festival in Stockholm on Friday and Saturday, where artists such as Sweden's Icona Pop and French DJ David Guetta are set to perform.

“In Gothenburg some members of the audience were worried for a while, but we changed the audience flows to improve things,” said Boström.

“If everyone decides that they want to be where it's sunny and you can get something to drink, it could get crowded, but we try to fix it. It's usually not a problem,” he added.