Pi News –
The lead singer of a popular band has been accused of soliciting women in the traditional Scottish music industry for sex for festival gigs.
A female folk musician said she was offered help getting a lucrative gig if she agreed to sleep with a man.
It comes as a number of women in the industry have reported being assaulted, intimidated and threatened by men, including high-profile figures, at events.
Some women fear that challenging established musicians in a male-dominated industry could jeopardize their livelihoods.
However, Naomi Paul, general secretary of the Musicians’ Union, urged women to come forward and report the perpetrators in confidence, according to The Times.
He said: “We are painfully aware of the ongoing abuse and harassment in the music and commercial scene in Scotland.
“We would like to ask anyone who needs help or reliable advice, or who wants to name the perpetrator, to contact us.
“If we receive multiple reports about the same person, we can take action without naming the complainants.”
Award-winning singer Iona Fyfe, 26, said the identity of performers accused of predatory behavior was an “open secret” in the industry.
He added: “People are increasingly finding out who the criminals are and trying to stay away from them.
“Women in the scene warn each other. However, they fear losing their jobs or being labeled ‘difficult’ if they speak up.
“We all know who the gatekeepers are: the people who run the festivals. We all know whose shows and whose platforms.”
Fyfe previously revealed that when she was 20, she was approached by a man from a “famous band” who offered to help her get a festival gig in exchange for sex.
But he feels unable to speak her name publicly because of the balance of power.
He said: “I won’t talk because the guy’s band gets a lot of money for every gig.
“They would hire an expensive lawyer and his group would close ranks after him. It’s a desperate situation, and I’m not alone in that.”
In folk music, there is a tradition of older performers mentoring newcomers to the stage.
However, some say it could create opportunities for young musicians.
One female musician said: “This is the perfect breeding ground for exploitation. Everyone in the scene knows tutors, musicians and teachers who abuse their power and position of trust in the worst ways.
“Some of the worst offenders like to brag on stage and on social media about how progressive they are. The correlation between what they say and what they do to women and girls is truly stomach-churning.”
In 2022, traditional music and Gaelic arts organization Feis Rois brought “pastoral care” for musicians aged 25 and under.
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The organization has also strengthened safeguards to combat predatory behavior.
Individuals can contact The Musicians’ Union in confidence at [email protected]