Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has announced a new initiative designed to protect festival goers from enduring sexual assault or harassment, the Los Angeles Times reports. The program, titled “Every One,” was instituted after complaints of alleged rampant misconduct surfaced from last year’s festival.
“We are pushing ourselves and our guests to do better and to be better. We are taking deliberate steps to develop a festival culture that is safe and inclusive for everyone,” reps from Coachella said in a statement on the festival’s site. “Persons of any gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, age or ability are welcome at Coachella.”
During April’s festival, Every One will employ a team of “Trained Safety Ambassadors” throughout festival grounds to “facilitate access to care services for anyone in distress.” Those services, in part, entail tents “staffed with trained counselors for anyone that needs extra support or a quiet moment away.”
The initiative explicitly states that “any form of assault or harassment, be it sexual, physical or verbal” is forbidden and violations may result in the offender being expelled from festival grounds without a refund and possible referral to law enforcement.
Teen Vogue published a wide-ranging report of alleged sexual misconduct from last year’s concert where women discussed being catcalled, groped, and grabbed without their consent while attending the fest.
“I only spent a total of 10 hours at the actual festival, where I watched numerous performances and interviewed festivalgoers about their experience with sexual assault and harassment for Teen Vogue,” Vera Papisova wrote. “During the 10 hours I was reporting on this story, I was groped 22 times.”
Coachella 2019 kicks off the weekend of April 12 and concludes the following weekend.