Chapter 3 - Situations Subchapter: Parties & festivals

Many different decisions

Festival scene of bright lights, big crowds, and someone on top of somebody's shoulders.


We all agree that the whole point of going to a party or a festival is to have a good time.

But your good time shouldn’t become someone else’s terrible time.

As a society we’ve decided one person can’t just take what they want from another person or do what they want to them.

Regardless of the situation, everyone has the right to personal safety and respect. That rule applies at a party or festival just as much as at school, home, work or walking down the street.

Another person’s thoughts, feelings, desires and needs will be different to yours.

So you need to take steps to find out what these are - what do they want? How do they feel? Do they want the same thing as you do?


Every person has rights and responsibilities

The environment at a party or festival can make it hard to verbally communicate. All of the noise and so many people jammed in together. Body language becomes really important.


When one person wants something from another person, the Field Model helps determine whether the other person might be a YES or a NO on a decision.


Unless you can be certain the other person is a YES, the Field Model looks like this.


The Field Model diagram with on character on Yes, one character on No. The End Zone is lit up in red.


You may be a YES, but the other person is a NO until they communicate that they are a YES, either verbally or with their body language.

If one person is NO, then both persons are in the End Zone and there is no agreement on the action.

Should I try and dance with that person?

Maybe, it depends on how you try.

In a crowded club or the mosh pit at a gig, it can be hard to catch someone’s eye.

Moving into their space and demanding attention is not respectful and could even be threatening for the other person.

The other person is a NO until they communicate that they want to dance.

You could try to get the other person’s attention with a gentle touch to their shoulder and then a wave.

If the other person chooses to ignore you, then that’s a NO.

A NO must always be respected.


Two illustrated characters at a festival or dancefloor dancing; one is getting to close and the other looks concerned.


Should I touch that person?

This is a NO until the other person indicates a YES.

If the other person signals with their body language and facial expressions that they would like to get more physically intimate with you, then it might be a YES. But if they push back or attempt to move away, then it’s confirmed as a NO.

Even if the other person has been smiling at you or dancing close, it’s not an invitation to move into intimate touching. You still need a YES, either verbally or with clear body language, to take further action.

Should I snap me with that person?

Not without their consent.

If it’s a general pic there should be no problem getting a YES.

If it’s going to be an intimate image or nude, then you must have the consent of the other person.


Image-based abuse occurs when intimate, nude or sexual images or videos are taken or shared without the consent of the person shown in the image.


Should I give that person a drink different to what they’re expecting?

A person is a YES only to the thing that they’re expecting - that’s the agreement.

Changing or adding anything to the drink means there is NO agreement.

A person may have agreed to a specific drink based on their physical needs – they may have an allergy or not want to consume any alcohol.

By changing the drink or adding something to the drink, one person is imposing their will on another person and ignoring their individual rights and that is a massive line move.


An illustration of two cups, one says Yes, one says No – the one that says No has a pill in it.


Stepping in on disrespectful behaviour

Parties and festivals are meant to be fun, but they will only be fun if the people attending them make sure their behaviour is appropriate and respectful throughout the whole event.

Remember, it only takes one person to ruin an event, but it can also only take one person to challenge bad behaviour and maybe change things for the better! (#ittakesone).

It’s not always easy to take a stand against disrespectful behaviour. This can include group pressure or fear of being called a name or maybe because the situation is so volatile that it’s not safe to go against the flow. Staying safe is critical.

If it’s safe and you notice disrespectful behaviour, there are ways to step-in and intervene:

  • Check in: try and make sure you understand what’s going on and if there are any risks.
  • Disrupt: try and break the dynamic that’s playing out by distracting, diverting, interrupting or calling out.
  • Recruit: consider recruiting others for advice or assistance if it seems the situation could escalate.