GrooveSafe started as a movement within the live music community to bring awareness to non consensual touching and sexual violence at concerts and places we gather for entertainment. The issue is so rampant, GrooveSafe became a non profit and continues to work to create spaces that nurture consent culture.
Yes, it happens and it’s terrible. For years, going to concerts was my happy place. There was just one element of the environment that was always uncomfortable. From time to time, I would get groped or grinded on. I spent many shows wondering why people thought it was okay to touch other people without permission. It ruined entire nights. The moment was over for the offender but I was stuck with the feelings of discomfort and fear. Sometimes, I was so put off, so violated, that I had to leave the show. I figured if this was happening to me so much, it had to be happening to others.
I began to talk about it, mostly with friends and in online groups. I knew I had to be brave and talk about this issue as much as I could. In the fall of 2016, there was an incident at a show in Las Vegas where someone was groped and it created a loud online discussion, as it should have. This prompted me to extend the conversation outside of my trusted circles. With a background in Psychology, human behavior fascinated me but I was also sick of people hurting others. I created a thread in a large internet forum and the response was overwhelming. There was a variety of responses ranging from “I had NO idea this was happening” to “Thank you for addressing this" or "I didn’t realize I was assaulted until this conversation”.
Some people mentioned that they were used to it or thought no one would believe them. This felt so wrong to me. I learned so much from that research and those testimonials, not only how frequently this was happening but it happens while sober, in every music scene and to people of all genders. Instead of not going to shows anymore, I knew I had to stand for change.
Body safety is something that is taught in kindergarten and keeping your hands to yourself is expected to have been learned long ago. There are movements and campaigns that stress the importance of consent in many areas of our culture. Why should the music or entertainment scene be any different? We now partner with bands, venues, promoters and groups to spread our message.
The shift in culture starts with awareness which will lead to changing behavior as well as protecting each other. Please take some time to learn bystander intervention tools and ways you can be part of the solution. Keep talking about this and look out for one another.
This is a movement within the community, for the whole community, to better the community. We look forward to putting an end to sexual assaults and unwanted touching at events. I hear you and I believe you.
Thank you, Ashley Driscoll, Founder
GrooveSafe has support from Phish, Goose, The Disco Biscuits, Umphrey's McGee, Greensky Bluegrass and other artists. We joined Participation Row at Dead and Co, Summer Camp Music Festival, Sweetwater420 Festival, Camp Greensky, PhanArt art shows, and the OSU Phish Academic Conference. GrooveSafe has appeared on Osiris Media Undermine Podcast and Long May They Run Podcast. The organization has been featured in Surrender to the Flow, The el Goose Times, Mirth Films, Phish's Dinner and a Movie series, and Consequence of Sound just to name a few. We also work with venues of all sizes including events at Madison Square Garden, Red Rocks Amphitheater, Dick's Sporting Good Park and Radio City Music Hall.
We are excited to invite you to volunteer with GrooveSafe! There are many different volunteer opportunities at any given time, and we would love to include you on our list. Can't wait to meet you.