Safer Spaces Policy
We believe EVERYONE has the right to experience the Winnipeg Folk Festival (WFF) as a safe place where they are welcome and respected.
As an organization, we encourage creativity, freedom of expression and attire, and respectful discussion, but not at the harm of others - regardless of attendees’ intentions.
We believe that every individual, no matter their gender, ability, age, ethnicity and sexuality should feel safe and comfortable in our environment and free from any negativity or harm due to others’ display of symbols, actions or words. Any form of discrimination, harassment, sexual violence and/or assault, disorderly conduct or any behaviour verbal or physical that demeans or marginalizes another will not be tolerated.
It is also important to remember that the WFF and its campgrounds are subject to provincial and federal laws. Please respect the valuable work that law enforcement officers and our own Safety and Security Folk volunteers in blue vests do to keep everyone in our Folk Fest community safe.
When you join us at the WFF, our Festival Campground and/or Quiet Campground, you agree to the safer spaces policy. Let’s support each other and ensure our community continues to be one of inclusiveness and respect!
Practicing Safer Spaces
As members of our WFF community, we all play an important role in the success of the Festival. We all accept responsibility to uphold the safety of the WFF, our Festival Campground and/or Quiet Campground, by respecting ourselves and each other.
The WFF may seem like an escape from reality, and while it is a magical place, you can help keep the Festival vibe alive and your experience positive by acting responsibly and looking out for one another.
How to practice safer spaces:
- Respect other attendees’ privacy, property and personal space. NO inappropriate physical contact, groping, unwelcome sexual advances, or taking of explicit video or photos without consent.
- Practice moderation and personal responsibility. The WFF can be an exciting and an overwhelming place – come prepared, relax and have fun.
- If you see someone who is having a bad experience or is struggling, lend a hand, walk with them until they can get to a safe place, flag down a friendly volunteer in a blue vest or take them to First Aid.
- Know that sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, ageist, or otherwise discriminatory language, behaviour or actions are unacceptable.
- Do not engage in disorderly conduct or behavior that hurts, marginalizes, humiliates, excludes, isolates or disrupts other attendees.
- Do not promote or lead any violent behaviour which includes sexual, verbal or physical assault against another attendee.
- Refrain from wearing or displaying offensive attire, flags or posters. This includes hate symbols and culturally appropriating attire.
Our Safer Spaces Initiatives
Take Care of Your Friends: To keep the WFF a Safer Space we are relying on our fellow folkies to look after themselves and each other. Please watch out for your friends and use the buddy system to make sure your group of friends are not left alone when under the influence or at night when everything can look a bit different.
Safety Volunteers (in blue vests): This is one of our largest crews that walks the Festival grounds and maintains crowd safety. To create a more broadly accessible safer space, the WFF has trained our Safety volunteers to respond to everyone positively and as allies. Safety volunteers are available to meet anyone in crisis with support and care and can call in our skilled Security Folk volunteers or involve other resources, as necessary.
Security Folk Volunteers (in blue vests): This team of dedicated volunteers provides high-quality support to both the Festival community and our Safety crews, responding to incidents that require a higher level of training in a folky manner. All members are licensed Security Guards and graduates of the WFF’s internal Festival Security Program. They have 120+ hours of training including areas in safer spaces, anti-oppression, violence, harassment and abuse presentation, consent culture, effective communication and Psychological First Aid principles.
There are mental health professionals available as part of our coordinated response team to provide Psychological First Aid and assist individuals in accessing additional off-site care.
Remember: volunteers are here to help, when in need, seek a volunteer in a blue vest or resources to help you stay safe. Any report of racism, discrimination, harassment, violence, sexual harassment, sexism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, etc. will be dealt with as quickly and effectively as possible.
Violation of the Safer Spaces Policy
The WFF takes the reporting of incidents of violence, harassment and abuse very seriously. Anyone found to have violated the Safer Spaces policy during their engagement with the Festival will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the site or event.
For more information, a complete version of the WFF’s Violence, Harassment and Abuse Policy.
Reporting an Issue
We believe in and support people who have experienced harassment, violence, or discrimination. If you feel someone is signaling or behaving in a disrespectful manner or is negatively affecting your or another’s Festival experience, please bring your concerns to a Safety or Security volunteer in a blue vest as soon as possible so that we can address them in a timely manner.
Individuals who have experienced or witnessed an act of violence at the WFF should take the following steps:
- If an emergency exists and the situation is one of immediate danger, call 911 and take whatever steps are appropriate to protect you or others from immediate harm, including leaving the area;
- Inform a blue vest volunteer of the incident as soon as possible; and
- Seek any necessary medical attention.
- To verbally report an incident at the Festival find a volunteer in a blue vest. To provide a written report of an incident submit the account of the incident through the form linked below.
For more information, please see the WFF’s Violence, Harassment and Abuse Policy.
Support & Resources
Should you experience an incident and need an extra bit of support during or after the Festival there are several resources available to you:
Urgent or Emergency Call 9-1-1
Manitoba 24-Hour Crisis Line
Adults residing in Winnipeg, who are experiencing a mental health or psychosocial crisis.
Call if you're struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings, concerned about a friend, family or co-worker.
If you’d prefer to chat with other young people about how you’re feeling, you can check out the Peer-to-Peer Community at Kids Help Phone.
Klinic Community Health provides a full range of health-related services from medical care to counselling and education.
- Klinic – 24 hours sexual assault crisis line
Call (Winnipeg): 204-786-8631 | Toll free (Manitoba): 1-888-292-7565 | TTY: 204-784-4097 | klinic.mb.ca
- Klinic – Sexual Assault Crisis Program
Call: 204-784-4059For anyone, ages 16 and up, who have experienced sexual assault. Professional counselling is available for up to 12 weeks. To begin, contact the intake worker. If you need to leave a voicemail, be assured this is confidential and someone will return your call as soon as possible.
Offering immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada.
Sexual Assault Recovery and Healing
24/7 Sexual Assault Crisis Line
Providing emotional support, information on options, referrals, and support services for those affected by sexual assault of any sex, gender, or background who are 15 and older.
Trans Lifeline is a grassroots hotline offering direct emotional support to trans people in crisis.
The MRC provides free therapy and support services for men aged 16 and up who have experienced trauma and stressors in their lives and want to resolve related issues.
This comprehensive website offers information about the impact of trauma, strategies for self-care in the midst of working through a traumatic experience and helpful videos to increase awareness and assist in decision-making.
Nine Circles: Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) Mental Health Worker List
The BIPOC Mental Health Worker List is an open-source and free resource for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour identifying individuals seeking low-barrier BIPOC therapists, counsellors, and mental health workers in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Survivor's Hope Crisis Centre
SARAH Crisis Program (Sexual Assault Recovery and Healing) provides support 24/7 to individuals reporting a historical or recent sexual assault at RCMP detachments and emergency departments in North-Eastern Manitoba.
You can ask for a SARAH Worker 24/7 at these RCMP detachments or emergency departments:
- Pine Falls
- Lac du Bonnet
SARAH Crisis Workers Provide:
- hospital accompaniment and support
- referrals to regional service providers