An open letter from my friend Claire...
Dear Tim and your fellow band members (of Les Savy Fav),
I attended Field Day at Victoria Park, London on Saturday 9th August. You may remember me as the one whom you threw an entire bucket of water on.
I wanted to write to you, and share my utter disdain at this show with friends, people in the music industry, concert promoters, and other musicians. I feel that your show on Saturday was a very distressing experience.
I am a great fan of Les Savy Fav. I was very excited to see you play, so much that I wanted to be as close to the stage, the sound, the experience of the show, as possible. Standing on the perimeter of a live show, when it's a band you love, just isn't quite the same as being close to the front. However, my sentiment doesn't come from a desire to be in the thick of a mosh pit, more the sense that people toward the front of a show tend to be more enthusiastic which can create a fantastic atmosphere in which to enjoy the music.
After about three songs the mosh pit started to get quite rough. Men were pushing each other in that cliched way of 'potentially hurting your fellow music fan is punk rock cool'. I was pushed so hard that I fell over. I was on the ground amongst a sea of males with large, head kicking tendencies, trying to retrieve my bag which was quickly becoming out of reach. The sight of being on the ground seeing all these feet coming so close to my head was truly terrifying. I managed to get my bag but decided to stand my ground and stay where I had every RIGHT to be.
The mosh pit continued behind me. At one point I turned around and screamed to the men behind me, to stop moshing. The response? "It wasn't me!".
Soon after you threw a bucket of water on me. Were you trying to disperse the mosh pit? Were you trying to be crazy rock-star eccentric? If you were trying to dispel the intensity of the mosh pit - why did you not speak into the microphone you were holding and directly tell the crowd IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO HURT THE PERSON NEXT TO YOU.
As this was an outdoor festival, during daylight hours, there were no lights shining on the stage, blinding you from what was ocurring under your nose. I can't fathom your reasons for not stopping the show, taking care of your fans and putting our safety first. I guess that's just not cool to be concerned with safety. Surely an intelligent band like Les Savy Fav doesn't think it's punk rock to have your fans kick the shit out of each other and perpetuate the sexist environment that moshing and stage diving creates.
The general sentiment amongst my friends after the show finished (and after I expressed my utter frustration at the situation), was that "it's a mosh pit, what do you expect?". I was told by one male 'friend' that I should just stand to the side and it would have been fine.
These comments reminded me of the common saying "she was wearing a short skirt, she was asking for it".
I had every right in the world to stand where I did without the threat of violence. It distresses me greatly to think most people feel I should adjust my behaviour to suit the situation - and not the males of the audience who were creating the situation - and the band that did nothing to dispel the situation.
As a band you have a responsibility toward your fans. I don't believe you couldn't have seen what was ocurring in the audience. You spent a large part of the show in the audience. Security were pulling out stage divers - however their role is merely crisis management. Cultural change doesn't come about by stage divers being plucked from the audience while the band plays on, ignoring what, clear as day, is ocurring.
Next time you play a live show, please remember that it's not very nice to alienate half your fans - the women. It's NOT cool to have fans become violent - it's not a signifier that your music is superior. All this behaviour does is feed an ape-like, male mentality that disregards women and perpetuates sexism in an industry that is already plagued by it. You have a responsibility as a band playing live to take care of your fans, you have a responsibility as a human being to make sure your actions don't exacerbate any violent situation.
And for the record for anyone who has already formed an opinion of me -
I am a FEMINIST and proud.
Feminism is not a dirty word
I have been going to shows for 17 years and rocked out to plenty without the threat of violence. It is not a utopian ideal constricted to sleater kinney or fugazi fans.
The ethos of punk rock never had anything to do with male bravado cock rocking violence.
To all bands and male concert fans - please, put your dicks back in your pants, play some music and respect the person next to you.