Shambhala Music Festival has been postponed to 2021. File photo

Virtual Shambhala Music Festival postponed due to allegations of sexual violence

Postponement announced following sexual violence allegations made against performer Billy Kenny

Organizers of the Shambhala Music Festival (SMF) in Salmo have put the event on hold due to allegations of sexual assault.

A woman reported a sexual assault by UK performer Billy Kenny to SMF three years ago before going public on social media last week.

Three separate allegations involving Kenny soon followed and were shared on Twitter, condemning Shambhala for including Kenny in the line up despite the alleged assaults.

In response, on July 13, SMF removed Kenny from the July 23-25 online show, however, four days later, as outrage grew on social media, organizers announced they decided to postpone the festival to review their policy and offer an apology.

“In light of allegations against past and present artists on our performance roster, we recognize that forms of sexual assault exist in our society and we take accountability for the role festivals play in this,” read Shambhala’s Twitter release.

“The industry needs to change, we need to change.”

The festival, which has been running since 1998, has been a popular annual pilgrimage and unique cultural experience for electronic dance music (EDM) fans across the world. In recent years, more than 17,000 people descended on the 500-acre property along the Salmo River just east of the small West Kootenay Village for the four day festival.

Kenny initially replied with a post on Facebook, but after a litany of additional damaging accounts, the Leeds artist has shut down all his social media accounts.

Shambhala also said it would take a social media break as it updates its practices and focuses its commitment to prevent further sexual misconduct at its events.

“We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to all of those affected and thank those who displayed the courage to speak out.

“Our next step will be to work with our team to determine the best course of action. This is an opportunity for us to look forward and to improve the way we run our festival. We acknowledge that we can do better to ensure that our team, guests and artists align with our values and we commit to using the lessons learned to reduce the potential for future harm.”

In the release, SMF pledges to conduct extensive background checks for artists and commit to a zero-tolerance policy for assault of any kind; further improve staff training regarding sexual harassment and violence; educate guests, crew and artists so that they fully understand what it means to receive consent; and train staff to respond to allegations promptly and appropriately.

The incident is just one of several recent controversies involving commercial EDM DJs like Graves, Space Jesus, Datsik and Bassnectar.



sports@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

music festivals

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Police investigating alleged assault on Oak Bay Avenue

Staff at Oak Bay Home Hardware say one person was taken to hospital

VIDEO: Seal pup and mom play and ‘kiss’ in Oak Bay Marina

BRNKL seal cam captures harbour seal growing up in busy harbour

Oak Bay neighbourhoods rocked by blasting activity

Oak Bay seeks new rock blasting bylaw regarding ‘continuous’ noise

Greater Victoria hardly making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions target

One-per-cent drop from 2007 to 2018 a far cry from the 33-per-cent goal for 2020

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read