The Key to a Good Night and Festival Out

With a background in nursing and a recent switch to urban planning, Stacey Forrester is both fascinated and passionate about the role space plays in healthy outcomes. This comes into play in the night life and annual festivals. Working alongside Bass Coast for the past 6 years, while also starting the Good Night Out project with her feminist soulmate, Ashtyn Bevan almost 3 years ago, it’s clear she’s on a mission. Her motive to make the nightlife and festival a safe a space.  Make sure you check out their guide to safer spaces and how touring artists can get involved HERE!

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Can you share a bit about your background in Harm reduction and how that plays a role in your current work?

“My educational background is in health care and I worked in harm reduction for almost a decade so with Bass Coast, it emerged as  a natural extension of my work passion, allowing it to  spill over into a community I care deeply about. Festival harm reduction allows me to explore my fascination with the built environment and health / well-being….what happens at festivals that results in people feeling connected, creative and safe to express themselves?  Is it the people? Is it the “container?” is it both….How can that translate to life outside of the festival? What  education can patrons receive here, that will help them to  keep themselves and each other safe at events the rest of the year?? These are all things I am constantly  trying to explore  in my approach.” – Stacey 

In your opinion how do art and music influence social norms?

“Great Question….

So …space (a be it festival,bar, family holiday dinner)   is never “neutral” and how it is decorated,(not just literally – but what we fill it with) influences how people feel – about themselves, about each other, about their community-  so at a festival if you have art and music  and performance that patrons are not just encouraged to be entertained by – but rather to co create, share, contribute to – I feel that has that a direct impact on people’s sense of connection – and people who live with a sense of connection are more likely to seek out supports, more likely to intervene when they see someone acting problematically in the group.

I have always said that one of the components of Bass Coast’s Harm Reduction is the art. The art grants allow people in the community to contribute to the experience of the weekend and it helps prevent sense of entitlement from becoming a norm. A dangerous norm at a mass gathering  is the entitlement to  be “ entertained” or to just be consuming the event passively.” – Stacey 

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“Also art and music  and performance by diverse gender expressions, bodies, cultures helps prevent any one group from becoming a prop for the party, which is a great norm to have.

I think we are heading into a new time in society where we can really explore  arts role as messenger and educator. Historically art is often positioned as a reaction to culture, but I am drawn art that sits at the nexus of  aesthetically pleasing and informative. Think of how HEINOUS literally all public health information is – drug and alcohol or safer sex pamphlets – like is there not a way to deliver this information that is also nice to look at? That is one aspect of Bass Coast’s harm reduction program that I enjoy – it doesn’t have to be cheesy. We have made it our own.

Last April I collected messages of support for sexual assault survivors from the public  and projected them down town on buildings, kind of Jenny Holzer inspired – I think that reflects my interest in where those things can intersect.” – Stacey 

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Why do you feel it is important more festivals get involved in these types of projects?

“All mass gatherings need harm reduction in some capacity. There are many different ways to approach it, all of which can be worked into the “brand” of the event.  To not put plans and interventions in place to mitigate the harms that come from a bunch of people 19+ creating a small village to party in ( which may involve the consumption of drugs and / or alcohol in) is VERY dangerous.  If you are all about “community” it has to include offering supports for that community to access to help keep themselves safe.” – Stacey 



You also run a very important mission, Good Night Out. What motivated you to start it up?

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“I do Good Night out with an amazing woman Ashtyn Bevan. I was already doing a different project around street harassment and Ashtyn reached out wanting to do something to talk about harassment on nights out. It came from a place of experience of having (too often) had someone being creepy ruin what was an amazing night out, and wanting less bad nights out, more amazing ones.

And here we are, nearly 3 years later running a street team in one of the most MACHO club districts ever and partnering with the Junos.  Its about wanting a shift in the nightlife economy to one where consent culture prevails, masculinity can deal with rejection, and where women / femmes / non-men are not just safe but fucking celebrated instead of made to feel objectified or unsafe.” – Stacey 


If someone were to use Good Night out, what would that look like?

“We work with anyone who has connections to shows, raves, concerts festivals – so whether one is a promoter, venue owner or patron, we offer workshops for all sectors .It covers what is happening, why this stuff happens (spoiler alert: patriarchy, heteronormativity and racism),what risks exist at your event and practical ways to address them.

That whole package sounds super like buzzkilly, but I promise it is delivered in a way that also acknowledges all the fun reasons about why people go out. It’s a fun workshop. ” – Stacey 

Where do you see your work going in the future?

I think that we are living in a watershed moment both in harm reduction (thanks to fentanyl) and sexual harassment / assault  (thanks to #metoo). I think I have found a niche in making both of  these topics “cool” and easy and waaaaay less daunting than they appear.  So hopefully I get to ride this out a bit and have this conversation a lot more with people who want to implement change at their event or in their community.

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How can people get involved with the Good Night Out?

“Like us on Facebook to see what we are all about – Good Night Out Vancouver. If we speak to you and you want to be connected to volunteer opportunities shoot us a message from there.” – Stacey

How can festivals get in contact if they are interested in working with you and knowing more about what you offer?

Going through Good Night Out is best for that too – just shoot an email:
Vancouver@GoodNightOutCampaign.org. 

Make sure you check out their guide to safer spaces and how touring artists can get involved HERE!

Final words or question you think I should asked?
“No – thank you for this!” – Stacey 

Check out there website here: GoodNightOutCampaign.org

Other website Festival related articles here:
2018 CANADIAN FESTIVAL LIST & HOW TO SET YOURSELF APART IN DJ APPLICATIONS: ACCORDING TO FESTIVAL PROMOTERS
2018 FESTIVAL APPLICATION DJ CHECK LIST
WHAT DJS SHOULD HAVE LEARNED DURING FESTIVAL SEASON
DELIBERATE, COINCIDENCE OR LACK OF EFFORT FOR DIVERSITY AT FESTIVALS
HOW TO LAND DJ GIGS DURING FESTIVAL SEASON

 

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2018 Festival Application DJ Check List

The snow is on the ground (depending on where you live) and the last thing a lot of us even want to think about is leaving the house. Well I’ve got good news for those of you that are DJs and Producers. This is the perfect time to utilize my free festival check list for the 2018 festivals (Download Link Here.)

1. Latest DJ Mix

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If you haven’t recorded one in the last 6 months or you simply don’t feel it’s a good example of what you would be playing at the upcoming festival, it’s time to update yours!

2. An up to date biography

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Make sure your biography lets the promoters know exactly what you’ve been up to, your accomplishments over the years and how you kept busy during the summer months, maybe an upcoming winter residency and previous music releases.

3. Get your social media up to date and or signed up

 The Power of accountability

Insure you are easy to find on social media, have your links updated and your profiles looking good. But “Why?” You ask? If you gain the booking, you’ll want somewhere to share the news. This will also showcase how active you are online as well! Are you engaging with your friends? Are you supporting other artists and promoters?

4. Have your up to date press-photos and logos ready to go!

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Making the promotional process easier for the promoter is always a bonus. If your press-photos are ready to go it’s an easy way for the marketing team to showcase YOU on their press releases for the event.

5. Check list of festivals to apply for

 Is their business practice of value?

Maybe you’ve apply for a festival already but in all the madness of applying, you’ve forgotten which one. Event planners are already bombarded by an intense amount of artist and volunteer applications. Make sure you’re only sending out one application per event. This is also how you can keep track of which applications are due, when. Some festivals have already closed the window for applying. So make sure you don’t miss out on anymore!

Bonus tips:

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What sets you apart?
Think about that ‘it’ factor. How are you different from other artists? Are you a producer that can also offer a workshop at the festival? Maybe you’ve recently joined a great label or audio company that could also become a sponsor or co-producer running one of the festival stages. Think inside the box, then think outside. What are people not ALREADY offering.

Selectively follow, support and engage!
If you apply for everything it may seem like your chances of playing goes up, but when you select the festivals that you feel most suit your style and you really believe in what they are doing, you can take time to really follow, support and engage with their pages. Festivals are a space where we are trying to build up our community and support the acts and vendors that are trying to create these spaces. Let’s not just apply but show what that community looks like.

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