One of B.C.'s biggest and most beloved music festivals is on hiatus after recent claims of sexual violence. Shambhala already removed an artist from their summer roster because of allegations, but now they're taking it further. The festival is instating a ton of new changes and taking time off this year to educate staff.
"Shambhala has long been considered a leader in harm reduction," they wrote in a statement on Friday, July 19, "and the safety of our guests, crew, and artists is our number one priority."
Earlier on Monday, July 13, the music festival removed British EDM artist Billy Kenny from their artist roster after allegations of sexual assault, they announced on Twitter.
A week later, the festival announced they will be making changes to stop anything similar from happening in the future. This includes installing "extensive" background checks for artists and a "zero-tolerance policy" for assault.
They will also be further training staff in sexual assault investigations, as well as in handling allegations "promptly and appropriately," they wrote.
Plus, they're going to create "in-depth consent training manuals" for their guests, crew, and artists so everyone understands what it means to give and receive consent.
Important update regarding harm reduction and Shambhala at Home 👇 https://t.co/jn6q971Z5j— Shambhala Music Festival (@Shambhala Music Festival) 1595027576.0
In the meantime, their virtual festival this year, slated to run from Thursday, July 23 to Saturday, July 25, will be postponed.
Their social media is also going to be paused "to take the necessary time to review our code of conduct, including all of our harm reduction strategies in the days ahead."
The EDM music festival is famed for fantastic lineups, surreal lighting, and over-the-top costumes. Every year, tens of thousands of festival-goers flock from all over to attend.
Last year, they even beat out Coachella and were nominated the best music festival in all of North America.
However, due to COVID-19, the original festival was cancelled this year.
Instead, they announced that they would be streaming live music from their artist lineup online.
The festival acknowledged that their actions "won't reduce the trauma felt by anyone who has experienced sexual violence."
However, they wrote that they're taking accountability for the role festivals play in sexual assaults, and moving forward, are committed to "dismantle rape culture."