The season of music is now upon us.
The season of music festivals. I cringe going to music festivals now. The overcrowding and the idea that personal space is a privilege not a right anymore, are some of the reasons why I don’t attend as much. Despite that I am built like a brick shithouse, sassy, bitchy and have no problems holding my own; as a woman, I don’t feel safe as a festival goer anymore.
Here in the big city of Toronto, it’s almost time for the NXNE festival. A festival, that I have been going to since the very beginning when it was $15 for a wristband to get into all the shows across the city. I have missed a few years, for instance I didn’t make it to any shows last year. BUT I did manage to listen to over 400 bands and create 4 podcasts out of it to highlight the great bands that were featured. I am totally digressing here.
It didn’t hit me until 2013 how bad the NXNE scene had really gotten. Perhaps it’s because I myself started to go to shows either drinking less, or dead sober. Drinking does affect how you hear a band, and as a music podcaster if I hear a new act, I want it to be something that I don’t regret in the next day. This is just how I do things now.
There is no judgement on anyone that drinks at shows because they want to have a good time. But I mean, if it’s getting you to do things that you would never do when you’re sober, and it affects someone else; well perhaps, you need to do some self reflecting.
Day 1 of my NXNE 2013 experience.
After going to an early show, I was on the subway at 11:30 pm on my way home, and I was approached by a very tall, very drunk man. His dumb intro line to get me to help him fix his blackberry failed as I am an iPhone user. I figured my very blunt and scolding tone would be enough to warn him to leave me the fuck alone. Even listening to music via my headphones didn’t sway him from walking to my side of the subway and start another conversation. He then decided to tell me that he wasn’t trying to make a pass at me, but was just standing next to me, and that his girlfriend would be pissed if he did. I retorted that I was married and wasn’t looking. (I wear my rings everywhere, to sleep, to do the dishes, to cook… they never come off.) I walked to the other side of the subway to get off at my stop. He walked across the train and stood right behind me. This is where I took a moment to size him up. He was tall, skinny, and very drunk; one fast flip at his knees and that mother fucker would go down fast.
He got off at my stop, and I turned right around and I told him that he was drunk and he needed to go the fuck home. I walked out of the subway station, without being followed. Was I scared? No. But I was surly mad that I might have had to kick the shit out of someone so that I could be left alone.
Day 2 of my NXNE 2013 experience:
I was at the Fucked Up show with a show goer pal Andy, and another man was pretty damn insistent to shove his ass in front of me in an attempt to rub it against my body. Who can blame him right? I mean, he was just having fun. I looked him in the eye, mouthed the word “no” and gently moved his body away. That was me telling him I wasn’t interested. Unfortunately, he didn’t get that message. He attempted a second time. And again, I politely (I know, me polite?) mouthed the word “No” and pushed him to the side . In another 10 minutes, he did it again. This time I shoved him hard enough that he fell into others and I started swearing at him. Of course, I got the look that I was some horrible out of control bitch. Sure you could say, “Nikki, why didn’t you just move out of the way if he was bothering you?” That’s right. I need to walk away and not stand my ground because some shithead can’t respect my personal space!
Andy, my show going pal at the time, had a chuckle and said, “I can see that you can take care of yourself”, in truth, I can. However, my evening was fucking wrecked at that point. Walking to another venue , I was catcalled and I had to restrain myself from engaging because I knew that the guy was extremely drunk and it wasn’t going to end well.
This is where I have the beef, and I really could not give two shits if I am offending anyone here. If you are offended, you’ve missed my point.
NXNE has turned into amateur night, where people get so drunk that they can’t even realize that they are so out of control. With show goers taking advantage of the crowded spaces to “sneak a feel”, “get a grope”, or catcalling on the streets, it’s not enjoyable anymore.
I can’t ask for venues to stop serving, and with NXNE being so packed, there is only so much that security can do. So my rant is not about NXNE the festival; but the individuals that are attending the shows.
I also want to make it clear, that I take issue with the statement, “it’s not worth it” every time I hear a catcall, whether directed at me or another woman. I get it. No one wants to be THAT guy and start causing shit. I struggle with this because catcalling is a big deal to me. I am always fascinated there are so many men out there that don’t catcall. So why should this be even acceptable?
Don’t get it twisted here folks, I am not saying that you can’t admire a good looking woman or man. But FFS, have some fuckin tact!
So my question to you, the reader, my listeners, is “Why do some men catcall and some don’t?”
(It’s really a rhetorical question, as in my opinion a man who catcalls, is subconsciously thinking that women aren’t equals, and are objects)
This year I had to put out a request, once again for someone to go with me to NXNE. I have gone to many, many shows by myself without any issues. But NXNE has become a whole different ball game.
There was a brilliant woman that started a media storm against street harassment. As with all good stories, and our attention span of a fish… It was forgotten.
Here is one of the many articles you will find about movements against catcalling.
How will this year be different? In addition to my show goer pal, (I am only making it to one show this year, cause I am older, tired and really cranky) I will be handing out Cards Against Harassment to women to give out and I will be putting men on notice.
Feel free to pass on the link to the cards to all your female friends so that they can pass them out. Sometimes empowerment can come in small paper like packages. 🙂