Northampton-based noise rock band Speedy Ortiz has slowly been creeping up from the Massachusetts underground scene to a more mainstream audience over the past couple of years. So far in 2015, they’ve been named Best of Boston’s band of the year, released their new album “Foil Deer” in April and recently performed on a cruise ship on the Charles River. Admirably, they are not idling in their newfound (national and local) success.
On Monday night, the band announced via Facebook that they have created a hotline that fans can text or email if they feel unsafe or harassed at a Speedy show. Once a message is received, the band says they will work with venue security to find the person and ensure their safety. In the post, Speedy Ortiz members declared that fans “have a right to an inclusive, welcoming performance space” and that venues should aim to keep their patrons safe from oppressive and discriminatory behaviors.
With the hotline, the band aims specifically to protect fans against, among other things, the racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia they might experience in the sweaty and possibly inebriated crowd. It creates an opportunity for concertgoers to speak up about any harassment without having to engage in a confrontation with a potential aggressor.
Many fans have reacted positively to this initiative, commenting frequently about the hotline on the band’s Facebook page. It’s not just fans, however, who have responded to the announcement; major news sources, such as Newsweek and New York Magazine, have also picked up the story. The band has started a conversation about inclusivity and safety at shows, and it surely will be of interest to both fans and non-fans alike to see how that discussion affects the band — and its concerts — moving forward.