Safer Festival is a not-for-profit organization born in 2011 aimed at promoting well-being and safety at festivals and other large music events.
In August 2012, Safer Festival was part of Ozora Festival in Hungary with a chill-out area called the “Haven”. The main goal of the Haven, as printed in the official festival flyer, was to provide a “safe space where people could process, share, and celebrate their emotional and spiritual journeys,” counting on the help of trained facilitators in case of need.
The team was composed of 26 people (including psychologists, nurses, psychotherapists, harm reduction workers, and others) from 11 different countries.
Inside the Haven, there were also flyers in different languages about psychoactives provided by the Nightlife Empowerment & Well-being Implementation Project (NEWIP), a harm reduction and health promotion project financed by EU.
The structure provided by the festival organizers was a huge circus tent, decorated with soft lights and with an altar made of sand in the centre. More than 3,000 people, out of the 22,000 present at the festival, visited the Haven and benefited from the possibility to celebrate their experience in a calm and safe environment or just to rest and relax after several days of dancing.
Feedback from the guests was really positive. “You are amazing people, thank you for looking after us! We really appreciate it!” wrote a visitor in the guest book. “I would like to have always people like you around me. I want to thank you!” wrote another one in the personal account notebook.
The service was provided in partnership with the medical staff, ambulances, and internal security.
A short video about the Haven is available, with the goal of spreading this service to other festivals and getting in touch with people interested in this project.
A special thank you to MAPS, to KosmiCare, to the NEWIP coordinators and to the Ozora organizers for their support and to all the Safer Festival volunteers for their dedication and service.
With deep gratitude,
Jonas Di Gregorio