Allie Wenner had an idea for the second episode of her podcast ‘My Favorite Band‘: to interview Phish fans over the recent New Years run at Madison Square Garden, and see what happened. But before she headed to to MSG, she came across NYS Music’s article on Groovesafe, an organization formed to combat unwanted touching at concerts and shows. It struck a cord for Wenner who says “I have been touched in ways that made me feel uncomfortable many times, but this was the first time I had heard about anyone really talking about it.”
Wenner reached out to Ashley Driscoll, founder of Groovesafe, and met at American Beauty for an interview, finding what she had to say quiet shocking, especially “the liability issues around this and how venues and promoters are dragging their feet when it comes to establishing policies to protect patrons from sexual violence.” Ashley emphasized that this kind of unwanted touching was not just happening at Phish shows and not just happening to women, so the next day she decided to interview some fans at the Hotel Penn PhanArt show and found out that she was 100% right: “Men, women, gay, straight, old, young — nearly every person I talked to had a story to tell about being touched at a concert, and it was pretty striking.”
“Some people had had it happen to them personally, but many people also told me stories about people harassing their significant others or friends as well. And the fans I talked to also confirmed that it wasn’t only happening at Phish, or even just at jam band shows. So after I got back from the NYE run I started doing some research about how other scenes are trying to combat sexual violence, and found some articles about last year’s Warped Tour, the SaferScenes booth, and War on Women, and things kind of went from there.
Listen to the second episode of My Favorite Band Podcast, and check out the first episode where Wenner looks at Insane Clown Posse fans (Juggalos) and how the FBI has labeled the entire fanbase of ICP a gang, alongside the Bloods and Crips etc.
Wenner is a multimedia journalist based on Princeton, N.J., who is passionate about live music and storytelling. She created My Favorite Band to give music fans a platform to talk about issues that matter to them and how those issues impact both their concert-going experiences and lives in general.