Boomtown bar staff report poor treatment, discrimination and neglect at 2022 festival

Boomtown bar staff report poor treatment, discrimination and neglect at 2022 festival

Boomtown Fair bar staff are reporting poor treatment, discrimination, neglect and unhealthy working conditions by festival subcontractor Freemans Event Partners.

A new statement by A Better Boomtown has collected allegations by Freemans Event Partners workers at the Winchester festival, which ran from 10th August through the 14th. The allegations include: “threatening, belittling and dismissive treatment” from bar managers; 17-hour shifts with little to no breaks; “excessive physical searches” and “overly invasive full-body searches”; forced separation of staff from the rest of the festival population; “insufficient” food with no regard for workers’ dietary needs; disregard for workers’ health conditions; and “various forms of discriminatory behaviour”. 

The collective demands that Boomtown sever ties with Freemans Event Partners and urge its network of promoters to do the same and the subcontractors to undergo an independent review of its work and ethics practices. 

“The more we stand together, the harder it becomes for exploitation to occur,” the statement reads. “Our actions stand not only as an encouragement for better workplace conditions and practices at Boomtown Fair, other festivals or in the hospitality sector, but as an act of solidarity with exploited workers everywhere.”

Since A Better Boomtown shared their statement on 22nd August, Freemans Event Partners responded with a statement outlining its practices on their Facebook page, which has since been deleted. A Better Boomtown shared screenshots of the response via Twitter. The company encouraged people who “experienced anything to the contrary” at Boomtown to get in touch. 

This is not the first time Freemans Event Partners have been called out for mistreatment of Boomtown workers. In 2019, the Canary published a damning report of “traumatic” experiences suffered by workers subcontracted by the company and two other subcontractors.

Just after this year’s Boomtown Fair, news broke that Live Nation bought a 45% share in “the UK’s biggest independent festival,” according to IQ. Boomtown cofounder Christopher Rutherford insists things will be “business as usual, we still hold the keys, we are still running the show”.

Read A Better Boomtown’s statement in full via Twitter.

Photo credit: Facebook

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