It’s not everyday your therapist throws an inclusive music and healing arts festival in Indio, California. Yet when your everyday deals with heaps of genderism, sexism, racism and other experiences of inequalities it’s gatherings like Mothership that make a difference. Laura Wise, the activist, feminist and therapist who created Mothership is an Los Angeles based badass. The start of Mothership stemmed from Wise seeing a need in the community for this space.
“When you come to MOTHERSHIP and men are removed from the equation, it becomes glaringly obvious how special and important these spaces are. It’s magical to watch womxn bloom in a safe space like this.” — Laura Wise
Since the 1960’s there’s a handful of festivals in the US that catered to the “female/female-identified only” population (some more than others) and these spaces have decreased in depth due to a multitude of reasons. It’s not easy to reserve a really large plot of land, throw a few port-a-potties on it and call it a “feminist festival”. There’s months of planning, preparing and proposing ideas that continues even after the last camper arrives. It may seem never ending, but it keeps everyone busy working towards creating these enjoyable experiences. With hosting help from homies like CB Glasser (Hot Rabbit, Blind Dragon) and documentation from the powerful team of producers and videographers (Camp Beaverton)—2017 was a year to be here in space design for womxn to relax, reflect and reconnect.
This year brought in a slew of diverse talent and scenarios: from intellectual panels, intriguing workshops, to talent from DJs Little Indian, Goodboy and Dirty Rich Kid to some magical musicians (WASI, Faarow, Madame Gandhi, Halle and Madison Paige) to a very well curated cast of businesses such as New Scouts (an androgynous clothing brand) to Mondo (low dose marijuana powder) to Lioness (a sexual empowerment tool that tracks your body’s sexual response!). Workshops included BSDM 101, Somatic Shamanic Practices for the Healing Womxn, Babes Building Brands, Lioness Artgasm, Hand Drumming for Beginners and Power to the Pen. The abundance of glitter and good vibes carried us from Friday to Sunday with the flow of a morning-sun yoga class (because it wouldn’t of been a feminist festival without such, right?)
It’s not just a good time out in Coachella Valley, it’s also for a good cause. Each year MOTHERSHIP donates a portion of their ticket sales to a non-profit. This year had a grand slam of a partnership with the Tegan and Sara Foundation (an organization that fights for economic justice, health, and representation for LGBTQ girls and women). The twins spoke on an hour plus long panel moderated by Wise that touched upon serious topics such as healthcare awareness for LGBTQI folks, working as a woman in the music industry, explaining how their push towards pop was a power move to make waves in that mainstream scene for queers to be heard and at random they answered my question I had submitted at carefree will into a raffle, prize being a swag bag from Tampon Tribe. My question to them was: “Tegan, what if you were named Sara?”
They loved it, and I lost it. Finally getting to meet these fierce and funny-as-hell artists whom myself and millions of others have been looking up to and listening to for decades was a Mothership dream come true. It was a reassuring reset hearing about their experiences with sexism, genderism and downright dumb questions from music journalists, radio hosts and more. For myself and other who navigate these waters of queer representation in the media, it was essential to hear these experiences are (sadly) universal.
“We’ve been doing this for 20 years now, we’re old! It’s time to give back and create these mentorships, resources and conversations that we wished were around 20 years ago” — Tegan Quin.