It’s been just over a month since Truck Festival announced that Moose Blood would be headlining their infamous Nest stage on the weekend of the festival’s twentieth birthday. Three days ago, the anti-harassment organisation Girls Against ended their collaboration with the festival, stating that the band’s presence “did not align with [their] campaign”. It’s apparent that Moose Blood’s actions have caused a stir in the indie music scene, so why are they, along with bands with similar histories, still being offered headline slots at festivals?
When allegations of sexual misconduct made against Moose Blood’s drummer, Glenn Harvey, were brought to light last year, the band were quick to distance themselves. In what seemed like an apathetic attempt to diffuse the situation and regain some of their lost followers, they released a statement confirming that Harvey was no longer a band member, adding that they had since made a donation to sexual harassment charity RAINN. Since then, members of the band other than Harvey have been accused of various harassments, including stealing private pictures off of a fan’s phone and circulating them within the band’s groupchat, suggesting that Moose Blood’s toxicity runs much deeper than Harvey.
By continuing to allow bands with such allegations made against them to headline festivals, we are effectively enabling them to continue to take advantage of their fans, whether it be in a sexual nature or otherwise. There are no two ways about this.
When a band steps onto a stage, they don’t magically transform into new people: they don’t strip themselves of their personalities, past or present actions- they simply draw your attention elsewhere. And so, by giving bands like Moose Blood a physical stage to perform on, we also provide them with a metaphorical platform: one which muffles the countless testimonies of fans-turned-victims who have been directly affected by an artist’s misconduct, and one built upon the ideology that fame overshadows moral responsibility.
Make no mistake: the music industry is a place of employment, and in any other workplace, the band would’ve lost their job. They would’ve been handed their notice and had their P45 posted to them a month later.
So why does it seem as though bands with a history of sexual harassment are being given glowing references and offered promotions, despite the raging and seemingly relentless allegations being made against them?
The most obvious answer is it’s because they’ve written a few songs that are catchy and are being idolised as a result. Examples of this are scattered throughout the post-2000 music scene: Cabbage, Misfires and Don Broco have all had countless allegations made against them, and yet nothing seems to have changed. Their names are still on festival posters; their songs are still being played on the radio, and yet their victims face an overwhelming tirade of abuse and harassment from so-called fans for speaking out. It’s almost as if they’re being excused for their actions, whilst their victims are the ones being condemned.
An alternative answer, and, one which may be harder to swallow, is that the music industry simply doesn’t care. With festivals such as Truck and Slam Dunk continuing to put bands like Moose Blood and Cabbage on the bill, it’s becoming increasingly questionable as to whether the big bosses are actually bothered by the storm of accusations surrounding acts in their lineup, or whether they are concerned only when it comes to making a profit.
Words: Rhi Parker