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Historic Newy festival advocates for safer music industry

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Newcastle is gearing up to host the nation’s first-ever sexual assault awareness festival this weekend.

Local community group What Were You Wearing? (WWYW) and survivor advocate Harrison “Harri” James will stage Safe Sounds at The Cambridge Hotel on Sunday 22 January.

The historic event features a plethora of homegrown music acts, with Monty Shambles (11am-12.10pm), Chloe Gill (11.40am-12.10pm), Mishayla Turner (12.25pm-12.50pm), Lost Plaza (1pm-1.25pm), Good Thanks (1.40pm-2.05pm), Snowfish (2.20pm-2.50pm), Ragdoll (3.05pm-3.35pm), Slow Cinema (3.50pm-4.20pm), Mango Avenue (4.35pm-5.05pm), Sitting Down (5.20pm-5.50pm), Tyrants (6.05pm-6.35pm), Slapjack (6.50pm-7.20pm), Turpentine Babycino (7.35pm-8.05pm) and WELL? (8.20pm-9pm) taking to the main stage.

WELL? will take to the main stage at the Safe Sounds festival at The Cambridge Hotel this weekend.

On the neighbouring warehouse dais, music-lovers can catch the likes of Regikay (11am-11.25am), Heddys Revenge (11.40am-12.05pm), Lilac Cadillac (12.20pm-12.45pm), Meedie (1pm-1.25pm), Abbi Yeo (1.40pm-2.05pm), The Tryouts (2.20pm-2.45pm), Not Good Not Bad (3pm-3.30pm), Soyboy (3.45pm-4.15pm), Lamphead (4.30pm-5pm), Osprey (5.15pm-5.45pm), Saylor and The Flavor (6pm-6.30pm), Camino Gold (6.45pm-7.15pm), The Appointment’s (7.30pm-8pm), Big Wheels (8.15pm-8.45pm), Deadshowws (9pm-9.40pm), Nana Klumpp (9.55pm-10.40pm) and King Fusion (10.55pm-11.20pm).

Or, for something a bit different, head to the front bar stage for Rod Coote (11am-11.30am), Hannah Christopher (11.45am-12.10pm), Lystsa (12.20pm-12.50pm), Elijah Amoss (1.05pm-1.45pm), Cormac Grant (2pm-2.45pm), Pizza Dates (3pm-3.45pm), Dread Maiden (DJ – 4pm-4.45pm), Ships (DJ – 5pm-5.45pm), Elkay (DJ – 6pm-6.45pm), Jinxy (DJ – 7pm-7.45pm) and Big Rex (DJ – 8pm-9pm).

WWYW? is a Hunter-based organisation, which focuses on providing education awareness and advocacy on sexual violence.

And, one of its new goals is ensuring the music industry is safer for performers and patrons, hence the Safe Sounds festival.

“More than 50 acts are supporting our cause,” founder Sarah Williams said.

“We regularly receive stories at WWYW in regards to sexual violence and harassment in the music scene.

“It would be great to see that come to an end.

“This is just the initial step [of many] to raise awareness.

“Already, the first release of the festival has sold out.”

Harri backed Safe Sounds’ stance to raise funds and spread awareness to eliminate sexual violence.

“We know the big-name festivals must do more to combat this issue,” he said.

“So, What Were You Wearing? and I wanted to challenge them and showcase that there are protective measures that can ensure everyone’s safety, so there are no more excuses for them to not adopt these practices.

“This festival is an opportunity to celebrate survivors.

“It will promote the unity and celebration of victim-survivors in a way that is a breath of fresh air… and can offer us all a sense of empowerment.

“Events like this spark change and create imperative conversations that need to happen in our communities to put this insidious type of behaviour at bay.”

Blind Bistro drummer Ethan Fraser also praised the organisers of Safe Sounds.

“I’ve even witnessed acts of sexual harassment in the crowd during some of my shows,” he said.

“It’s just not the best vibe.

“So, we need to be doing more, more rules but also a better culture.”

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