Safe”r” space: Efforts to enhance safety at Festival Clin d’Oeil

Festivals are often seen as havens of joy and celebration, yet they can also be marred by various excesses, including alcohol abuse, sexual and chemical aggression, and general discomfort. The Clin d’Oeil festival, a prominent event in France, is now taking significant steps to address these issues and enhance safety for its attendees.

The festival introduced a safe space area, managed by the association Parenthèse. Justine Sauvanet and Radia Darkaoui, from Parenthèse, discussed their motivation and the steps taken to create this safe haven. Justine, reflecting on her frequent visits to festivals, noted that deaf festivals don’t have safe spaces but hearing festivals do. She wants all people, from all minorities, to come to the festival and feel good and comfortable.” She also says that Festival Clin d’Oeil is safer now but it doesn’t mean all problems disappear.

The festival’s director, David De Keyzer, addressed the introduction of the safe space, acknowledging that previous safety measures were inadequate. “Society and individual behaviour have changed. It’s become more individualistic and there’s no longer respect for others. It’s a shame, this stand shouldn’t exist,” he lamented, highlighting the evolving nature of festival safety concerns.

Frank Chetrit, who coordinates the deaf safety team says that the collaboration with Parenthèse has been beneficial in defusing potentially dangerous situations.

Mathieu Lambert, head of the hearing security team, discussed the challenges faced due to the language barrier and the measures taken to address them. “There were a lot of discussions with the people in charge of the Clin d’oeil festival. We were able to have two workshops where we were given information about deaf culture to smooth fears we might have had,” he explained. The presence of interpreters has been crucial in facilitating communication between the security team and the deaf festival-goers.

Despite the positive strides made, the festival-goers’ opinions remain mixed. Some feel the enhanced measures have improved their sense of safety, while others continue to experience issues. The integration of Parenthèse and the concerted efforts to address safety concerns mark a significant evolution in the festival’s approach to creating a safer environment. With continued focus and improvement, the Clin d’Oeil festival aims to ensure that all attendees can enjoy the event without fear.