Swedish music festival canceled after spate of sexual assault reports

Sweden's Bråvalla music festival has been canceled for 2018 after police received four reports of rape and 23 reports of sexual assault from Thursday to Sunday, according to the Guardian.

"I've had it," Folkert Koopmans — founder and CEO of FKP Scorpio, the German production company that runs Bråvalla — said in a statement. "Violence kills the festival experience and the love for music, and — first and foremost: People are getting hurt. One is one too much!"

The first report came in Friday from a woman who said she was raped while Håkan Hellström, the festival headliner, was onstage, according to the Huffington Post. On Sunday, the Post logged the number of incidents at one rape and 11 sexual assaults, but that number seems to have risen since that report. Speaking to the Guardian, police chief Martin Hedberg told cited "weak descriptions" of suspects that come in after the fact, leaving police with relatively little information in their investigations.

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Bravalla Festival in Sweden
A police officer is seen at the campsite at Bravalla Festival in Norrkoping, Sweden July 1, 2016. Five rapes and a number of sexual assaults were reported at the popular Bravalla Festival over the weekend. TT News Agency/Izabelle Nordfjell/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN. NO COMMERCIAL SALES.
Bravalla Festival is a Swedish three-day music festival held annually at Bravalla flygfottilj outside of Norrkoping. Bravalla is among Sweden's biggest and most popular music festivals and is hoseted by FKP Scorpio. (Photo by: PYMCA/Avalon/UIG via Getty Images)
NORRKOPING, SWEDEN - JUNE 27: General view during the third day of the Bravalla Festival on June 27, 2015 in Norrkoping, Sweden. (Photo by Ragnar Singsaas/Redferns via Getty Images)
NORRKOPING, SWEDEN - JUNE 26: General view during the second day of the Bravalla Festival on June 26, 2015 in Norrkoping, Sweden. (Photo by Ragnar Singsaas/Redferns via Getty Images)
The audience dances during Bravalla Festival in Norrkoping, Sweden June 29, 2017. TT News Agency/Pontus Lundahl via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN
Rebellers are seen at the campsite at Bravalla Festival in Norrkoping, Sweden July 1, 2016. Five rapes and a number of sexual assaults were reported at the popular Bravalla Festival over the weekend. TT News Agency/Izabelle Nordfjell/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN. NO COMMERCIAL SALES.
NORRKOPING, SWEDEN - JUNE 26: General view during the second day of the Bravalla Festival on June 26, 2015 in Norrkoping, Sweden. (Photo by Ragnar Singsaas/Redferns via Getty Images)
Bravalla Festival is a Swedish three-day music festival held annually at Bravalla flygfottilj outside of Norrkoping. Bravalla is among Sweden's biggest and most popular music festivals and is hoseted by FKP Scorpio. (Photo by: PYMCA/Avalon/UIG via Getty Images)
The camping site of the Bravalla festival is pictured on its last day, in Norrkoping, Sweden July 1, 2017. TT News Agency/Pontus Lundahl via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN
A police officer attaches a bracelet to a visitor's wrist, as part of the Swedish police summer campaign to make the problem of sexual harassment among young people visible, at Bravalla Festival in Norrkoping, Sweden July 1, 2016. Five rapes and a number of sexual assaults were reported at the popular Bravalla Festival over the weekend. TT News Agency/Izabelle Nordfjell/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN. NO COMMERCIAL SALES.
Bravalla Festival is a Swedish three-day music festival held annually at Bravalla flygfottilj outside of Norrkoping. Bravalla is among Sweden's biggest and most popular music festivals and is hoseted by FKP Scorpio. (Photo by: PYMCA/Avalon/UIG via Getty Images)
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The specter of sexual assault is becoming increasingly visible at music festivals worldwide, and the question of preventing misconduct is not a new one for Bråvalla. In 2016, five rapes and 12 sexual assault cases were reported at the festival. At another Swedish music festival held the same weekend — Putte i Parken in Karlstad — women attested to 32 instances of sexual assault, mostly in the form of groping by men.

"These were reports of women being touched in unwanted places, such as on their breasts and on their bottoms and inside their underwear," Karlstad Police Department Inspector Leif Nystrom told the New York Times.

Bråvalla's statement said the decision to cancel the 2018 event wasn't about confining the problem to festivals or an inability to handle it; rather, it's "about making a clear statement."

"We do not accept [sexual assault] at our festival," festival organizers said in the statement.

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