If you’ve ever wondered what happens at a Good Night Out training session, or you’re thinking of setting up a rave buddy system at your party, read on. We give our insight into what promoters can expect and speak to co-founder, Bryony.
At the beginning of 2020, we took our longest hiatus in 6 years of Jaded being at Corsica Studios. We were feeling burnt out after working long into the night launching our Stroberload label whilst holding down our day-jobs. We’d neglected ourselves and the care, detail and esteem that goes in to every Sunday.
We spent those weeks taking a fresh look at everything. Over the preceding months, we’d been increasingly feeling a disconnect between our values and Jaded. A major part of this was not addressing the elephant in the room of our carbon footprint (with up to 16 weekly flights alone). Our primary act was to phase them out and focus on booking new techno rising up locally and from France and the Netherlands where we could use the Eurostar. We also wanted to put a rave buddy system in place, but we didn’t know where to start. This lead us to Good Night Out and Bryony…
The ‘old’ approach to addressing harassment and abuse is through door picking. Through our discussions with the team at C/S, and seeing what the other parties there were doing, we realised we were behind the current thinking: a more collaborative approach with everyone in the party – the team, the artists, the regulars being encouraged speak out, be vigilant, listen and support each other.
The first session with Bryony crystalized our approach as a team, and gave us the tools to implement the new framework. We discussed our ethos as a collective and we also had a directed conversation about the insidious forms of harassment that we can sometimes see happening at our events. She helped us accept that these are impossible to reduce with just a door policy. If you are thinking about implementing a rave buddy system at your party, I recommend this experience. It’s positive and without judgement. Once you meet Bryony and the team, you’ll really understand…
Hi Bryony, thanks for taking the time to chat to us about Good Night Out. Can you tell us about your experiences as an alternative rock promoter and how you came to co-found the campaign?
Hi Krista! Yeah, so I started out in the hardcore punk scene first in South Wales, then in Brighton and then London. Over the years I put on many gigs in social centres, squats, youth centres as well as clubs and pubs. With the strong sense of community and international links it’s got some similarities to techno world! It also has issues, like all music scenes, with sexual harassment and assault, and the gender and race power imbalances that we are all aware of. I experienced my fair share of harassment and assault (sometimes while just attending the gig, sometimes while actually performing) during these years, including once being followed around for six hours by a member of staff at a festival. It was terrifying, and I ended up in a heap crying having just come off stage to be cornered by this person. It was super obvious to me that people, often well-meaning, in this scene just had zero idea of how to respond, challenge and support each other when this type of behaviour came up. I’d also been doing activism related to street harassment and supporting survivors of sexual violence on helplines for a few years, and felt ready to start targeting venues and encouraging them to do much more. Myself and my friend Julia were running the London chapter of Hollaback London, part of the global movement to end street harassment, and the project was born out of that. Five years later we’re a registered community interest company active in several countries, running our training and accreditation programme with a staff team of four plus more than twenty freelance facilitators who deliver our work.
Many of the best clubs’ in-house teams will already have regular Good Night Out training. Why is it important for promoters to consider this for their teams too?
Yeah, we love working with venues. What we know about promoters is that collaboration with a venue is super important. However, club and gig goers will often follow the promoter or night faithfully around a city to different venues. They will have an expectation of that event organiser about what they have in place and what culture the people who come to that night are invested in. That organiser may have much less power than a venue when it comes to training staff or instructing security, so communicating and upholding their values, and being clear on what they will and won’t compromise on is really important. We know for a fact that many promoters do this for love not money, which also changes the vibe when it comes to how invested and personally responsible they feel when someone does have a bad experience. I think Jaded and Corsica is our first Promoter-Venue couple where both are accredited, which is a joy for us!
How can clubbers feed back about their experiences to GNO and why is this so important?
We are always aware that a venue or a promoter can’t just magic someone’s choice to harass or assault away, and that while culture of what’s acceptable in the party or the space can play a role, ultimately the only person responsible for the behaviour happening is the perpetrator of it. You also can’t tell if someone is going to harass just by looking at them, you need to be ready to deal with incidents in a productive way. Prevention measures can help, but if someone does choose to cross boundaries, a process needs to be in place to handle it and ensure they can feel supported to report it. Our whole premise is about breaking silence and encouraging reporting issues to bar staff so people can take action but many people do not feel able to respond in the moment, which means you have to have as many options as possible on the table for them. One way we do this is via our independent reporting tool on our website. People can report an experience (positive or negative) at any club, bar, venue or with any promoter, and let us know if they just wanted to vent, or if they’d like us to follow up with them for a productive conversation about how to make things better – or just to share how well they did.
Thanks Bryony, we’re looking forward to working with you and supporting the campaign. We’ll return to this in the blog once we’ve had a proper chance to put our new skills and our buddy system into practice at Jaded.