Festivals are both the best and worst things of all time. On the one hand, you can have MDMA for lunch and roll around in the mud for five days straight while wearing tie-dye trousers and nobody will judge you like they would at home. On the other hand, you will have to live in a fabric coffin, come into close contact with human shit and puke on numerous occasions, and have to sit through 100,000 people chanting “Viva La Vida” at least once.
When you’re a woman, going to a festival brings a new set of problems, whether it’s batting off the advances of some limp chirpser in the healing field, or, worse, feeling unsafe in a space that has a serious and unaddressed problem of sexual assault. While some festivals have been attempting to tackle the issue with safety awareness campaigns, sometimes all you want to do is drink and dance in a space where those problems are less likely to occur.
This year at Glastonbury, for the first time, there will be a venue for women only, which will be tucked away in the Shangri-La zone of the festival. The venue itself is ran by an organisation called The Sisterhood, who describe themselves as an "intersectional, queer, trans and disability-inclusive space open to all people who identify as women". All staff working in the venue will also be those who identify as women, whether they are the acts who are performing, bar staff or security guards.
"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,” the venue organisers explained. “Oppression against women continues in various manifestations around the world today, in different cultural contexts.”
"In the UK, the gender pay gap in the workplace, cuts to domestic violence services and sex worker rights are current talking points that highlight this issue. Sisterhood seeks to provide a secret space for women to connect, network, share their stories, have fun and learn the best way to support each other in our global struggle to end oppression against women and all marginalised people, whilst showcasing the best and boldest female talent in the UK and beyond."
You can find Sisterhood on Twitter here: @join_sisterhood