I’m 25 years old and have been active as a Dj and event organizer in my city since I was 17. I originally started off doing events because I found it nearly impossible to compete or be taken seriously. It was weird. There were male Djs my age just starting off at the time and they were able to get bookings and yet no matter how much I practiced, put out content, networked, I was constantly brushed aside. So I decided if no one would book me, I’d book myself. And thats kind of how the event planning started. In a way, I’m glad it did because hosting events has become such an integral part of my life and has given me a real sense of pride, achievement and opportunity for stuff like travel.
After my first ever event, I ended up getting booked in a nearby city by one of the people I had hired to do the lighting/ mapping. I was ecstatic. I was not even old enough to be in the club and I was booked peak hour. I remember feeling so happy. I could not stop smiling the 6 hour greyhound bus ride there. While playing, near the end of my set, I was handed a drink from the organizer which had Ghb in it. Long story short, I was lured out of the venue and assaulted in his car. I didn’t know anyone in this city so I just collected myself long enough that I could get on the first greyhound bus back once I was feeling better. I never came forward because this person was loved and well connected in the community. I just felt this social pressure to shut up about the entire experience. I also panicked after the fact and it happened so many years ago that it would just be his word against mine.
What I find sad is that when I talk to my fellow female artists, so many of them have similar experiences. It’s frustrating to know that to start off, we not only need to work that much harder but then on top of that we need to deflect all these unwanted advances and work that much harder to keep ourselves safe.
I kind of took that experience and realized that as an organizer I now felt I had the responsibility to watch over others and keep them safe especially while under my roof. There are a lot of young inebriated people who come to my events. It’s important to have people there who have the one responsibility to keep an eye out. I also make sure that my line ups are balanced in terms of gender. And not for the sake of novelty. There is a lot of talented hard working men and women out there. If I can give everyone their opportunity to shine, well then I feel like I’m doing what I need to be doing.