Denmark: Support from Roskilde Festival Charity Society for artists at risk


01 June 2012

The Roskilde Festival Charity Society in Denmark:

Support for artists at risk

Freemuse has received a grant of DKK 500,000 (approximately 66,000 euro) from The Roskilde Festival Charity Society to sustain and develop the Freemuse networks in West Africa, MENA, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“In the past 18 months Freemuse has conducted workshops in the three regions and established a unique support network for musicians at risk. The grant enables Freemuse to continue and develop this work assisting music creators facing harsh censorship and persecution in regions where attacks on musicians are frequent,” said Marie Korpe, Freemuse Executive Director.

The networks links arts and media communities to legal and human rights organisations in the regions. Freemuse has developed an online alerts action manual, which provides unique information to the network of how to assist artists at risk.

How does this work?
The Freemuse networks combine several professional capacities. A recent example of how this works in practice comes from Sierra Leone.

“We got a notice of an attack on a musician from one of our stringers. We immediately sent an alert to our regional network members and within an hour one of the human right defenders responded and started an investigation,” explained Freemuse Programme Manager Ole Reitov who conducted the workshops last year.

“At Freemuse we may receive several alerts each day. We analyse the situation and find the right people or organisations that can react locally or regionally. Larger campaigns are initiated and coordinated from the secretariat. The three year long campaign for the release of Lapiro de Mbanga in Cameroon was successful because it combined local, regional and international efforts,” said Ole Reitov.

Volunteers secure charity
The story behind donations from The Roskilde Festival Charity Society is unique. The Society receives practically all its funds from the annual Roskilde Festival, which, except from 25 paid employees, is carried through by thousands of unpaid volunteers who ensure that the festival can continue.

Profits from the festival are allocated by The Charity Society. Since the early 1970s, The Roskilde Festival Charity Society has distributed more than 18 million euro to humanitarian, cultural, and non-profit projects over the world.

Freemuse has a long relationship with the Roskilde Festival. Already in 2000, the festival in collaboration with Freemuse presented a dozen bands who had experienced censorship.Three years later, Damon Alburn of Blur was among the artists talking about music censorship at a Freemuse conference at the festival.

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