Meet Oli Barton & The Movement - the Wandsworth band pioneering for a safer gig culture.

Born and raised near Falcon Estate, Wandsworth, 23-year-old Oli Barton still remembers the days of going to gigs alone in London as an anxious twelve-year-old.

“Thinking back, I’m trying to imagine how much worse it would be if you were a young woman in one of these crowds,” said Mr Barton.

Now part of his own indie-rock band, the singer is making moves to fix what he believes is a “broken” live music scene.

Mirroring a wider movement in the industry, the band’s upcoming single 'Get Out' hopes to raise awareness about a dangerous culture of sexual harassment at gigs.

“We’ve had problems at our shows where we’ve had to eject people – it’s just unbelievable what goes on in front of your eyes.

“Indie music typically fosters an alternative point of view, and we want people to feel comfortable and at home at our gigs, especially when they may not do so on the outside. But there are people on the inside making that difficult for them - to have that ruined is the worst thing,” said the singer.

Formed in 2018, ‘Get Out’, is the band's first single on their debut album, ‘Pipe Dreams’, which is due for release on October 2, on Coke & Dagger Records.

Lyrics include, “it probably was the clothes she wore or maybe the way she always swore,” which makes reference to a toxic culture of victim blaming in sexual assault cases.

While artwork for the single features handwritten testimonies from fans who volunteered to speak up for the cause.

“I was so surprised by the response, as pretty much everyone we interviewed had an experience or knew of someone had an experience of sexual harassment. It was so sad to me, this is an industry I grew up in and felt at home in, but for other people it’s a place were awful stuff happens,” said Mr Barton.

Wandsworth Times:

Artwork for single 'Get Out'

Though the pandemic has been devastating for many artists who have lost out on revenue from live music events, the band hopes there can be a silver lining.

“The pandemic is a chance to reset attitudes - we’re consistently hearing people saying ‘we can’t wait to get back to gigs’, but the gig scene was broken how it was, in terms of attendance and gender dominant line-ups. About 80% of line-ups feature no female bands,”’ added the 23-year-old.

In the past, the band has supported female singer Pixie Lott and covered the songs of feminist icon Billie Eilish.

They have also shown their commitment by pledging to donate profits from the first month’s streams of 'Get Out' to charity Women in Music.

“We don’t want to bring it back the gig scene how it was - we were failing people the way it was. It’s better for us to rebuild it to be better, instead of just jumping back in,” said Mr Barton.

You can find out more about Oli Barton & The Movement their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Spotify.