At least four sexual assaults were reported during last weekend’s Folk on the Rocks music festival in Yellowknife.
Festival organizers confirmed to Moose FM that one incident happened in the beer garden while people were dancing near the stage Saturday night.
Ashley Makohoniuk, Folk on the Rocks vice-president, said police “responded very quickly” and detained a man once Folk staff made them aware of the complaint.
“Folk on the Rocks supports a safe environment and implements many measures to protect patrons and ensure a positive festival experience,” added Makohoniuk in an email.
“It is unfortunate that specific individuals have shown disrespect – as this does not represent what the Folk on the Rocks festival is about.”
That incident wasn’t the only one reported over the course of the weekend.
At one point on Sunday, an emcee on the same stage told a crowd gathered inside the beer garden that consent is required while alluding to multiple incidents of unwanted touching.
By that point, he said three separate sexual assaults had been reported to festival staff or police.
On Thursday afternoon, RCMP confirmed four allegations of sexual assault over the weekend, adding that every suspect had been located.
‘Men are not entitled to women’s bodies’
Ian Campeau, a member of a Tribe Called Red, also addressed the alleged sexual assaults in an emotional Facebook post Sunday.
“I had a friend who was assaulted at our performance [Saturday] night,” he said. “A male felt entitled to my friend’s Indigenous body and physically hurt her.”
“She told me she was excited for this moment that was in her home town at her festival to see an empowering Indigenous group. But that moment was taken from her.”
“A non-Indigenous man felt that he was entitled to put his hands on my friend’s Indigenous body and took that pride and switched it with rage, confusion and sadness.”
It’s unclear if Campeau was referring to the same incident that Makohoniuk said police responded to on Saturday.
Yellowknife RCMP say no charges have been laid at this time as they continue to investigate. Police also said Thursday that each incident was isolated and that the public wasn’t at any increased risk.