Festivals have never been idyllic safe spaces for women, but the jury is still out on how to address the sexism and outright violence the average woman encounters in muddy, male-dominated music events the world over. Michigan festival Electric Forest announced a female-only campsite in February, while consent campaigns like White Ribbon run awareness-raising stalls at events like Bestival on the Isle of Wight. This year, Glastonbury threw its hat in the ring by adding its first women-only space to the lineup: The Sisterhood.
The organizers behind the venue described it as a "revolutionary clubhouse," billing it as an "intersectional, queer, trans and disability-inclusive space open to all people who identify as women." The schedule promised an all-women staff (including security), gigs from punk bands like Dream Nails, DJ sets, and workshops on everything from yoga to carpentry and voguing.
But first you had to find it. That meant trekking through the heaving crowds at Shangri-La, Glastonbury's mud-caked wonderland of late-night entertainment. Shangri-La is not for Burning Man tech bros who enjoy their enlightenment with a side of "secret" Skrillex sets and handjob intimacy workshops. The miniature city of container units and clubs—decked out to look like some kind of half-ruined, post-Brexit apocalyptic mess—was where the Sisterhood called home.
From the outside, it looked like a nail salon with blacked-out windows and displays of acrylics and plastic hands. But linger around (or knock hard enough) and eventually someone would open the door, ask if you were there for your "nail appointment," and lead you down a dark corridor into Glastonbury's first ever girls-only space. We sent photographer Alice Zoo down to document the scene.