Chapter 3 - Situations Subchapter: Parties & festivals

Having a good time

It’s a party!

Birthday, graduation, house warming, wedding, rave - anything at all can be an excuse for a party.

Different sorts of parties call for different behaviours.

Maybe your friend’s gran totally loves to get down and floss, but your own grandma would throw a terrifying glare if you suggested it.

Your grandma expects you to dance in a way that is acceptable to her.

This will be different to the way you dance in a mosh pit, or when you dance with friends at a festival, or at a rave.

 

A split-panel image. On the left is two illustrated characters dancing nicely with musical notes above them, the right panel has two characters dancing aggressively with raised horns.

 

We adjust our behaviour to suit the social norms of the situation – what’s expected and considered appropriate.

 

Festivals: fun, friends and music

Music festivals have become a fixture of the Australian gig calendar. Whether it’s rock, punk, metal, EDM, blues, jazz, folk or classical - there’s a festival for everyone’s musical tastes.

Plans are made many months in advance with tickets selling out quickly. For many, being able to go to a music festival is a really big deal and a much-anticipated experience.

Being able to spend a few days chilling with your friends, watching amazing bands, and meeting new people – going to a favourite festival can turn into an annual ritual.

Because music + friends = good times and great memories.

 

A group of illustrated characters at a festival holding drinks, with a big stage and crowd in the background.

 

Everyone just wants to relax and have a good time with their friends. That’s reasonable isn’t it?

 

Two characters, one with a red angry face and a speech bubble which reads, "Hey! Did you just grab my bum? Not cool!"

 

Parties and music festivals, like any social situation where there are crowds of people, emotions are amplified, and where there might be alcohol or drugs, can be places where we experience disrespectful, harassing and abusive behaviour.

 

Sexual harassment at parties and festivals

Heightened expectations and emotions

Heightened emotions and increased expectations are a powerful mix – it’s so easy to get caught up in the buzz. More dancing, more drinking, more flirting – more of everything.

But when we become too determined to have a great time, no matter what, we can lose sight of others and their rights. We can forget that each person has a rich inner world with their own thoughts, feelings, needs and desires.

You might be having a great time, but unless you check in with others on how your behaviour is impacting them, it’s not shared fun.

Always remember to Stop Ask Listen and make sure that exaggerated behaviour doesn’t become annoying, harassing or abusive.

Other people

The power of the mob:

  • Go on – do it!
  • Don’t be a wuss!
  • He’s a hottie!
  • She wants you!

Large emotionally charged groups pose real challenges for navigating situations respectfully and safely. The pressure to respond in a way that conforms to what the group is expecting can be significant.

It takes courage to say no when group acceptance requires you to say yes - yes, I’ll do that.

But in saying yes to the group, you may be stepping over your own boundaries and what you consider to be acceptable behaviour.

  • That girl is hot but I’m not going to just go and put my arm around her!
  • I’m not a wuss what you’re asking me to do is dangerous.
  • He is a hottie but he’s with another girl.
  • I’m not taking your word for it – you don’t know that she wants me.

 

You also need to be alert to other people’s boundaries. Every time you do something to another person without their permission – leering, touching, groping – this is a non-consensual act.

Consent isn’t just about sex, it’s every little interaction.

Consent is permission to do something that affects and involves another person.

Consent requires that both persons are YES to the shared decision.

Only one person needs to decide NO on the shared decision for both persons to enter the End Zone.

 

CAN I TOUCH YOUR BUTT?

The Field Model diagram with one character on Yes and one on No – both move to the End Zone, which lights up red.

 

Two characters as above where one is asking about a bum grab, faded out, with 'Not a good time' written in text.