A Canadian music festival has apologized for “overt racism” – after a white volunteer staffer refused to give up her seat, which she had paid for, to a minority woman and move to the back of the theater.
Singer Lido Pimienta asked the white members of her audience at the Halifax Pop Explosion to move to the back and instead invited “brown girls to the front.” The white volunteer, whose name was not released, refused to give up her seat.
According to Halifax Pop Explosion, the volunteer was told by the festival that she is “no longer welcome to volunteer” at the music festival.
“We will not accept this behaviour and neither should you,” added Georgie Dudka, a board member for Halifax Pop Explosion, in a statement posted to the festival’s Facebook page. “Be responsible for your friends – talk to them and support them as they move towards unpacking their racism. People of Colour deserve safe spaces, and it is your responsibility to help. It is also ours.”
Dudka also apologized to Pimienta, writing: “we are sorry that one of our volunteers interrupted your art, your show, and your audience by being aggressive and racist. We have so much respect for the art and music you create and the space you make for women, people of colour, transgender, and non-binary people. The way you interact with the world acts and provides a thoughtful example. You are a role model to us and many people in our community. We see it. We feel it. We hope you will work with us again.”
And Dudka saved a final apology for “the POC” -“people of color” – in the audience, writing: “we are sorry your night was interrupted, and perhaps ruined, by one of our volunteers. We are going to try our best as a festival to create ways to make our spaces safer and more accessible for you. We hope we can rebuild some trust and that you will come back to our shows.”