I am sure that I am not the only person in scene media who has been struggling for the last week with exactly what to say, when to say it, and how to put my feelings out there about the Disc Jam situation. I have been reading and following the online threads and the few band statements that have been issued. Knowing exactly what to say as someone who is supposed to know what to say is difficult, but I simply cannot keep myself quiet anymore. You all deserve better than that of me.
My husband and I have covered the Disc Jam festival for three years. Between previews, reviews, artist interviews, and general social media promotional efforts, we have dedicated a lot of time and effort to help grow a festival that we truly looked forward to every year. We were aware of some issues that have surrounded the festival, but we have no first hand experience with any of it. We never had a run in with the police, and until this year, we never even met it’s owner and organizer. (and this year it was for about 8 seconds – I simply wanted to say hello since after three years of my efforts, I had never met the guy) We looked forward to and enjoyed our annual trip up to the festival every year. That being said, we genuinely had NO IDEA that any of what is now coming very publicly to light was going on. Had we known, things would have been very different.
I am heartbroken for any victims in this situation. I am angry for you that it was allowed to go on. I am angry I didn’t know because I would not have poured so much of myself into the work I did for the festival. I am angry that this culture exists and people are so desensitized to it that we actually, every day, excuse shitty behavior under the guise of, “Well, that is just the way so-and-so is” and “You just have to deal with it if you want to be a part of blah-blah-blah”. I won’t deny that I heard comments about bands not always getting paid, or small criticisms of the festival being met with anger and threats of “not being welcome next year”. These were commonplace around the festival and something that everyone seemed to meet with shrugs because we all wanted to be there. Something I now feel shameful for. None of those things are uncommon with promoters (again, we need to stop allowing shitty to be normal. Why do we allow this to be so ok?)
However, these allegations, these stories of major abuse – I never heard that.
I didn’t know.
I wish that I did.
To the victims, I won’t pretend to know what you are feeling. Your stories have horrified me. They have made me angry. They have made me unbelievably sad. They have made me physically ill. I feel horrible for what you have endured and the fact that for so many years, there WERE people that knew and did nothing. I can only say that I also have my own #metoo stories from people in power. I stand with you.
For me, I have scrubbed my social media of my promotion for the festival. I am taking down any and all blog posts I have done. I do not want this blog that I have given so much of myself to for the last (almost) decade to show any support for such shitty, shameful behavior. A Perfect Mess will not be affiliated with this. I don’t care if it means I never cover another festival again. This cannot continue to be normal. This has to stop.
In between my anger and sadness for the victims is a sadness for all those who did some incredible things at the festival over the years and feel a bit tainted by it all right now. To all of you that played in or worked on the festival purely for the love of your creativity, know that your efforts are not lost. Your art was still beautiful. Your music was still amazing. Your food was still delicious. Your pictures were still captivating. Please continue to create. Let’s use our powers of influence and creativity to STOP this shitty culture from permeating our wonderful scene any more than it already has. We can’t change what has been, but we sure as hell can change what will be.
Let’s see to it that our efforts have not been lost on all of this. Create, speak out, and support victims and fighters. This shit needs to STOP, and you all have a voice.
We are better than this, and it’s time to fucking prove it.
A Perfect Mess
If you happen to catch something I missed, please let me know so that I can have it removed.
For more on what you can do, please see:
What To Do When You Can Say #MeToo: A Guide to Discussing Sexual Harassment/Assault (Part 1)
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