In the land of Palm Springs, California in a tiny town of Indio—a revolution continues to thrive and survive: This being the Mothership Festival. This gem of grounds was a place of experience, acceptance and most importantly: safety. Ironically stationed in the same location as the multi-weekend monstrosity of a music festival that is Coachella; Mothership exuded an essence of security. In the realms of freedom of expression; this was a weekend where you could walk about topless, bottomless, braless, dressed in BSDM wear, adorned in all the furry one-pieces and much, much more.
When I say no judgment, my statement stands strong.
The womxn I took time to speak withstand strong with their statements of the inclusivity, safety and the importance of such in these spaces. After a decade’s worth of attending festivals, I have found Mothership alongside Fabulosa (another inclusive feminist festival set in the beautiful land of California) were the two festivals that really took to it to honor their promise to their patrons. The larger spaces such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and SXSW are far too big to manage every single action yet, there are spaces within their realm that need this kind of agency. Mothership did it’s due diligence to truly protect and serve womxn by creating a safe space for them to be and let be.
From different and diverse artists, attendees, entrepreneurs, musicians, organizers, and videographers comes a dozen responses as to why LGBTQ and women-centered spaces are so vital, especially right now.
“We really need to support each other, especially when the rules are often made by men who exclude the womxn and LGBTQI community”
Ti (Founder, Lovecrave)
“You can be who you want here, and a lot of people can’t do that once they leave these grounds. It’s incredible seeing this all come together from the ground up. Waking up at 5am and getting four hours of sleep a night is worth making Mothership happen.”
Jade Study (Workshop Director, Mothership, pictured with the sisters of Faarow)
“For Sara and I, there’s a newfound interest to get on the ground and understanding what our communities needs are. Lending our visibility, power, and privilege and redistributing back into the community. On the musical side we get to interact with fans and now on a festival side it gets to go further than just a Tegan and Sara concert!”
Tegan Quin (pictured in FEMINIST t-shirt)
“Music Festivals have been a hotbed for sexual violence involving womxn and misrepresentation in the ratio of men/women attendance. Many of these assaults go unreported. Here at Mothership, you have the freedom to feel the sun on your bare chest. At Burning Man, I never felt that freedom due to the presence of men, alcohol, drugs, you name it.”
Beth Nelsen (Documentarian + Director Camp Beaverton, pictured with Kristina & Victoria Rodriguez)
“There is a lack of inclusivity in some of these feminist festivals, they miss the trans and GNC mark. If we’re going to fight for our rights as an LGBTQIA community, we got to fight together. Also, how many festivals have a tent where you can go try out Lioness and have your orgasm turned into an artgasm onto a tote bag?”
Sierra Dowd (Media and Sponsorship Liaison, Mothership)
“From attending last year’s Mothership to this year’s—it’s crazy to see how much has happened. Good, bad or indifferent, as a society and personally, there has been so much growth and demand for these spaces to continue existing for us”
Laura St. Pierre (Attendee, pictured with partner)
“Even if you have queer friends in our own day-to-day lives, it’s something special to be completely surrounded by a [mostly] queer population, to share stories and experiences. There’s self-validation. Talking to people who don’t even have family anymore based on their truths and their beliefs, Mothership offers this space for them chose their family.”
Emily O’Brien (Founder/Operator of Mondo Meds)
“For my first festival, I am the sole operator and owner of M Jay’s, the people and welcome I got at Mothership was outstanding. As an entrepreneur, to work on the ground introducing people to cannabis this way is really enlightening. To see the people you are working to help learning about your product is powerful.
Sarah Hudson-Lopez (Owner M Jay’s Catering, far left—pictured with team)
“It doesn’t feel sexual, having these workshops discussing sex. There’s a presence of both feminine and masculine energy even though there’s only womxn/womxn-identified humans at Mothership. The desexualization of certain conversations is really empowering for people all over the spectrum that attend”
Alexandra Valasco (Artist, Dreams Incarnate, pictured on left with Neelima)
“This venue was attractive to us because it is a safe space for womxn and womxn identified individuals. We are implementing an initiative for a zero-tolerance policy on the road for the Con X tour for discrimination involving transphobia, homophobia, and more. The synergy between the spaces, Mothership and the places we will be on tour, is exactly the change we are trying to create.”
Kristen Plumberg (Director, Tegan and Sara Foundation )
“When you operate in the heteronormative, capitalist, patriarchy system everyday, certain parts of yourself may not get to shine as bright. That can be based on the essence of mere survival in these spaces. It’s very healing to be here and around people with similar mindsets who allow you to be your most authentic self.”
Madame Gandhi (Musician & Activist who performed at Mothership)
“Couples have the freedom here to exercise their right to be couples. There’s no finger pointing, eye leering or general discomfort out here while you are expressing your love for your partner like any hetero couple would do.”
Che Landon & Kiki Castell (Attendees, Artists/Actors)