Australia's Music Biz Launches 'Your Choice' Campaign to Tackle Harassment at Shows

A cadre of Australian music industry professionals has banded together to stamp out sexual assault and anti-social conduct at concerts and festivals.

The initiative, dubbed Your Choice, was created to address “growing cultural issues and harmful behavior” at shows and comes after reports of several indecent assaults at festivals during the last southern summer.

Your Choice aims to "influence a culture of positive behavior through shared responsibility" and encourages industry and gig-goers to call out harassment and unpleasant incidents.

“These issues are not exclusive to the music industry, they are issues within our Australian society,” the campaign said. Your Choice, its founders explain, is about “being culturally proactive, we don't want to stick our heads in the sand around any of these issues and pretend they're not happening. As industry representatives, we will continue to work with the public, emergency services, community groups and government agencies to develop informed and preventative strategies rather than legislative, restrictive solutions.”

The initiative was unveiled Friday at a function in central Melbourne and got a second push across social media Tuesday (July 18) with the inaugural Your Choice Day Of Action, during which supporters were encouraged to change their Facebook profile photos to the Your Choice logo and use the hashtag #YourChoiceAU. 

So far, the project has garnered support from across the industry, with artists, labels, venues, agents and fests among the hundreds of participants. Its supporters include Live Nation Australasia and its chairman Michael Coppel, who applauded the initiative. “Anything that shines light on these issues, encourages open, honest discussion and assists with the development of measures to prevent or minimize harm in the live performance environment is a big step in the right direction for all of us,” he said.

A list of "house rules" posted on the Your Choice website sets the tone. “You don't have the right to touch someone without their permission, respect their personal space," is one basic rule, "No means no” and “Throw a party, not a projectile” are others. The website is also a resource hub for bands, venues and others to continue the discussion.

The Australian industry-supported project continues on from the U.K.'s “Safer Spaces” campaign, orchestrated by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) and its members to create awareness of sexual assault and harassment ahead of the northern festival season.