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“Safer spaces for everyone”? The Ladyfest scene as an innovative field for the fight against gendered violence in the live music industry

Louise Barrière (Arts du Spectacle, Université de Lorraine, Metz, France)

Arts and the Market

ISSN: 2056-4945

Article publication date: 21 December 2020

Issue publication date: 1 September 2021




Live music events have recently become more and more aware of the necessity to fight against gendered violence. In the meantime, research on gendered violence at live music events is also gaining a growing interest. Ladyfests and other punk-inspired queer and feminist do-it-yourself music festivals have often been presented as “safe spaces”, including in academic research. Yet, the exact goals and modalities of enactment of such safe spaces have mostly been overlooked. In this article, the author proposes to bridge this gap.


In this article, the author relies on two sources of information: the first one is documentary and the second is ethnographical. The author first considers the festivals archives (flyers, presentation texts, programs booklets, websites and so one) to analyze the identities and goals of the festivals (“who were are” and “what we aim to do”). Crossing these sources of information with ethnographical fieldwork in 10 Ladyfests that happened in France and Germany between 2017 and 2019, the author observed the measures taken to reach such goals (“how we do it”).


The author begins with detailing the functions of safer spaces policies and shows that the festivals position themselves as transformative forces toward a safer nightlife. Then, the author introduces the means established by the festivals to enact their safer space policies. The author specifically underpins the crucial role of developing bystander intervention as well as self-managed security teams. Finally, the author sheds light on the limits of the safer spaces policies and posits that creating a safer environment demands a constant hard work to keep patriarchal structures away.


Very few research studies have focused on live music, gendered violence and safe spaces. With this article, the author aims to contribute to the growing interest that these topics have gained in the last few years, by looking at an innovative feminist live music scene.



Barrière, L. (2021), "“Safer spaces for everyone”? The Ladyfest scene as an innovative field for the fight against gendered violence in the live music industry", Arts and the Market, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 61-75.



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