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(Credit: Joey Thompson)

Music

Guardians allocated to female artists in predatory folk scene

@TomTaylorFO

Traditional music events in Scotland have announced that they have taken extreme measures to mitigate the folk scene’s issue with sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation by assigning female musicians a guardian.

This measure follows continued claims by a number of female artists working within the circuit that they have frequently been the victims of inappropriate behaviour. Thus, Fèis Rois, an organisation specialising in traditional events, has sought to eradicate the problem. 

In order to do so, young female musicians will now be assigned a guardian to provide pastoral care and ensure that they are supported while on tour and not open to exploitation. 

51-year-old musician, Karine Polwart, is a veteran of the circuit and knows about the issues all too well. She told the Sunday Times: “There are particular vulnerabilities around younger women in their teens and earlier twenties who are trying to develop their careers.”

Continuing: “It is ripe for exploitation and that really does need to be addressed.” Thus, she celebrated the measures put in place. 

The strict controls were similarly celebrated by Dr Lori Watson, a musician and lecturer in Scottish ethnology at the University of Edinburgh, who described various encounters she has intervened in over the years. 

“The stereotypical situation is a drunk older man and a young woman who may or may not have been drinking. The behaviour is intimidating and causes long term negative effects,” she said. 

Alongside the provision of pastoral care for young artists, any freelance musician on the circuit must engage in educational courses on the matter to ensure that the situations are not just prevented but the problem as a whole is remedied. 

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