Harvest Introduces Safer Spaces Policy

Harvest Music Festival is proud to announce the introduction of a Safer Spaces policy for its 2021 Festival. The new policy was developed with the intention of fostering safer and more inclusive space throughout our annual event. 

Harvest is dedicated to fostering community amongst all Festival patrons, artists, volunteers, staff, sponsors and Board Members. Harvest is committed to delivering a festive and welcoming experience for people of every ability, age, colour, gender, gender expression, income level, language, physical appearance, place of origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Everyone has the right to feel safe and free from harm, and feel a sense of belonging at Harvest, and the new Safer Spaces policy affirms this. 

The 2021 Festival will include a special team of Safer Spaces volunteers, a Safer Spaces tent as part of our beloved Street Experience, and the introduction of bystander intervention training for festival volunteers. 

In addition to the new Safer Spaces volunteers, over 30 of Harvest’s staff, Board Members, and core volunteers have now successfully completed Project Soundcheck training facilitated by Sexual Violence New Brunswick. The bystander intervention training provides tangible skills to recognize and respond to power-based harm at live music events. 

Harvest intends to offer Project Soundcheck training to volunteers on an annual basis. 

Volunteers will operate a Safer Spaces tent on Carlton St. closure where patrons are welcome to a safe, supportive environment to take a break, have a seat, or check out our resource table. 

“For 30 years, dedicated, caring community members have been coming together to bring amazing musical experiences for our city,” said Jeff Richardson, Harvest General Manager. “Safer Spaces will help us continue to foster this experience and ensure a Harvest that can be enjoyed by all. As Harvest approached our milestone anniversary, festival organizers took the opportunity to affirm our commitment to delivering a welcoming, inclusive festival experience.”

The Safer Spaces initiatives grew from a collaboration with St. Thomas University, and was facilitated via an internship through STU’s Office of Experiential Learning. The policy was written upon the foundation of an academic research project led by Dr. Karla O’Regan in the Criminology Department at St. Thomas University. It is based upon best practices and sought to be comprehensive in it’s scope using anti-oppressive framework. 

Harvest’s Safer Spaces policy can now be accessed online at harvestjazzandblues.com/safer-spaces and our improved accessibility procedures can be accessed online at harvestmusicfest.ca/accessibility/.  The policy will be distributed to all volunteers, artists, festival partners and sponsors in advance of this year’s Festival. 

“For Harvest, creating our safer spaces policy helps us articulate our shared ownership as a community to help each other feel a sense of safety and belonging. This is what our dedicated volunteers have been actively doing for over 30 years as we bring folks together,” said Meghan Morrison, Harvest Chair. “We want to consider others and their experiences and this policy is here to support everyone in that goal, from patrons and volunteers to sponsors and musicians.”

Harvest recognizes that creating safer and more inclusive spaces is an ongoing commitment. Our policy and festival will evolve to ensure we are meeting the needs of our community. Harvest welcomes community feedback at info@harvestjazzandblues.com

For more information, please contact:
Jeff Richardson
General Manager, Harvest Music Festival