Glastonbury for the win. This 2016 Glastonbury music festival will feature its first ever women-only venue called The Sisterhood and it’s described by the organizers as a “revolutionary clubhouse” that is open to “all people who identify as women.” The Sisterhood will be an “intersectional, queer, trans and disability-inclusive space” and will be staffed entirely by people who identify as female, from performers to security staff. In a statement, this is what the venue’s organizers said, “The producers of The Sisterhood believe that women-only spaces are necessary in a world that is still run by and designed to benefit mainly men. Oppression against women continues in various manifestations around the world today, in different cultural contexts.”
Glastonbury’s co-organizer Emily Eavis has long been committed to chiseling spaces for women in music. (She stood her ground, as well as stood up to all the haters who claimed Adele was too boring to headline.) In an interview with Noisey, Eavis said: “We are strong on women this year, I have to say. There are loads of great female MCs coming through this year which is quite exciting. Little Simz and Lady Leshurr and people like that.”
Women are so under-represented in festival culture to start with. There’s a lack of female headliners and acts in general (not just Glastonbury-specific). Women also face the constant ongoing problems of violations of personal space (not the moshing or pushing, that’s a given, but more specifically being groped or being touched inappropriately) or worse sexual assault. Ask any female music festival attendee and you’ll get personal experiences or stories from what’s been seen. Not discounted that there are some cool dudes out there, the tall guys that let you stand in front of them or the ones that watch out for you… We salute you, cool dudes. But most festivals and concerts, in general, are spaces organized by and for men. Women just want a safe space to dance/mosh to their favorite band/artist and drink without being hassled, it’s not rocket science.
The “revolutionary clubhouse” will pop up in Glastonbury’s Shangri-La zone, a space rooted in “deep history in outsider art and underground culture.” It will include live music, dance classes, workshops on intersectionality and diversity, and even workshops on DIY power tools with carpenter Rhi Jean.
So, my fellow GATRS (girls AND guys AND all who identify) of the world, it’s up to all of us to prove to all those silly men who are clearly running this industry wrong. After all, who run the world? Girls.