Image: Brendan Ekstrom / Instagram

Circa Survive Guitarist Storms Off Stage To Stop Female Fan Being Sexually Assaulted

Circa Survive guitarist Brendan Ekstrom has angrily smoke-bombed off stage mid-gig to stop an alleged sexual harassment situation he saw going down in the crowd.

The axeman has taken to Twitter to explain his actions after fans in St Louis were left mystified by his sudden walk-off (he reappeared soon after to finish the set after taking a moment to simmer down and word-up security guards to intervene).

Ekstrom says the “disturbing” scenes made him think of his daughter, and caused him to almost black out “in some weird rage mode”.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve never walked off stage during a song before,” the guitarist begins in a long string of tweets.

“For almost a whole song I watched a guy stand a row behind a girl flirting and then trying to kiss her. It was hard to tell what was really happening,” he continues. “At times she seemed okay with his advances but after the second time of watching her push is face and hands away and try to turn back to watch the show I asked the security guard to go check on them.

“He couldn’t see what I was pointing to and it was still happening. I left the stage and walked straight for them, my mind an emotional blur. Security followed me. The man seemed dumbfounded when I showed up as if nothing was wrong.

“I don’t know what happened after. I went back to stage to finish the show. Security took it from there.”

Ekstrom says he didn’t see the man or the woman for the rest of the show, and has apologised to fans for freaking out so much about the whole situation.

“Maybe they were removed or just moved. Maybe they were in a relationship. Maybe they weren’t,” he writes.

“Regardless, what I saw from stage was disturbing to me and completely removed me from the mindset I need to be on stage.

“It wasn’t cute. It was alarming. I’m almost forty and flirting doesn’t look like that. Maybe it’s that I have a daughter or that I’m older.

“I really don’t know but it made me furious to watch a girl forcibly remove someone’s hands from her body multiple times. I still don’t feel great about how I handled the situation. I borderline blacked out in some weird rage mode,” he confesses.

“It makes me nervous to think about how I would handle situations like this in the future, especially if it was with someone I knew or cared about, especially if it is my daughter.

“I don’t really know what to say about it all. I’m sorry to my band for not communicating the situation better and leaving them standing on stage confused. And I’m sorry to fans who were equally confused and saw a bit of an unusual show.”

And it seems the majority of fans have accepted his apology, expressing solidarity and support for the Circa Survive string-slinger on social media.

The subject of sexual assaults and live music has been in the spotlight a lot lately. Overseas, a ‘man-free’ music festival is being planned in Sweden after a wave of sexual assaults led to the cancellation of the country’s Bråvalla festival.

While here in Australia, musicians, festivals, promoters, labels and venues have all united to launch the ‘Your Choice’ campaign aimed at keeping live music events safe spaces (building on work already completed by the likes of Victoria’s Sexual Assault Task Force), after Laneway Festival launched a dedicated hotline for reporting sexual assaults as part of Camp Cope’s #ItTakesOne campaign to combat anti-social behaviour at gigs.

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