For Those (Ladies) About to Rock: 7 Female-Centric Festivals You Should Know About

Article by: Mia Quagliarello|@miaq

Wed March 07, 2018 | 14:40 PM

Can you hear them roar? Women’s voices are rising in all corners of the world these days as they fight for equality and, in some cases, just basic human decency. At music festivals, that means not only creating welcoming spaces where women can enjoy music and friendships without worrying about being harassed, groped, or worse, but also giving a platform to talent that might otherwise get overshadowed in a man’s world. Here are a few female-focused festivals leading the way when it comes to melding fun, empowerment, giving back, and supporting the sisterhood. In other words, these gigs are awesomely ladylike.

Statement Festival, Gothenburg, Sweden (August 31- September 1, 2018)

Enough’s enough. This festival’s organizers had it when, in 2017 alone, there were four rapes and 23 sexual assaults at Swedish music festivals. So they started their own event, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign funded by 3,300 people, where only cis women, trans women and those who identify as non-binary are invited to attend. Statement is slated to make a real statement on August 31 and September 1, 2018, in Gothenburg, Sweden, when it becomes the world’s largest women’s only festival. Here’s the lineup so far.

Metalocalypstick Fest, Valemount, British Columbia, Canada (June 29-July 2, 2018)

What’s more badass than ladies who headbang? Ladies who headbang in Canada! This three-day campout June 29-July 2, 2018, in British Columbia’s Rocky Mountains, is devoted to showcasing metal, punk and hardcore bands who have at least one female musician. It’s also a non-profit that donates 100% of its proceeds to organizations like Girls Rock Camp, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, Earth Protectors, an audience-selected charity, and an independent band worthy of a helping hand.

The Dinah Shore Weekend, Palm Springs, California (March 28-April 1, 2018)

Billed as the largest lesbian event in the world, The Dinah takes place in Palm Springs, CA, every year. In 2016, Lady Gaga turned up poolside, and Tegan and Sara, Katy Perry, Iggy Azalea, and Salt N’ Pepa have also performed at this epic girl party. Who will show up this time around? The story unfolds March 28-April 1, 2018.

FestiGals, New Orleans, Louisiana (2018 Dates TBA)

A stiletto New Orleans street parade where stilettos are not actually required? Sounds the perfect mix of giddy fun and sober realism—which makes sense for FestiGals, a 360° weekend experience that includes a leadership conference and merry food and music events that also benefit local agencies devoted to women’s cancers and domestic violence survivors.

The Other Festival, Brooklyn, New York (2018 Dates TBA)

Like Statement, Other Festival began with a woman—in this case, Dee Poku Spalding—who said “enough.” Spalding was attending a major music festival in 2015 when she noticed a lack of women onstage and decided to fix that. Other was born to celebrate the “makers and creators of this generation, the women who are redefining how to do business, setting their own rules, putting new systems in place, pushing their own agendas.” Other unfurls via a network of events, not to mention a very inspiring and beautiful Instagram account.

Women in Music Festival, Oakland, California (April 6-8, 2018)

Forbes has dubbed this Oakland festival one of 19 conferences every creative should attend in 2018—April 6-8, to be exact. Now in its second year, WIM Bay Area centers on women in music and media, with a special emphasis on diversity, entrepreneurship and community. Blog posts like “What Beyoncé Has Taught Us About Sisterhood” and “Finding Truth in Your Roots” hint at the vibes in store.

Her Forest at Electric Forest, Rothbury Michigan (June 21-24 & June 28-July 1, 2018)

This area at Michigan’s Electric Forest festival in July embraces all who identify as women and is built to foster greater connection, inspiration and comfort among attendees. Seeking to define a new way of relating to each other, Her Forest joins Shambhala and Glastonbury in hosting female-centric zones inside of a larger experience. Said one attendee: “Whether it’s men or it’s women, we’re stronger together.” Read more about it here.

In Memoriam: The Lilith Fair

We can’t have a list about women’s festivals without a nod to the OG Original Granny of them all, the Lilith Fair. Conceived by Sarah McLachlan in 1997, Lilith was a radical concept at the time (and apparently still is!). Its three-year run in the late 90s culminated in an attempted revival in 2010, which failed due to poor ticket sales. Luckily, oral histories and clips abound, thanks to its recent 20th anniversary. (Michigan Womyn’s Fest was another pioneer, but its exclusion of trans women helped precipitate its demise in 2015, after 40 years. MWF was the event loosely represented by the Idyllwild Wimmin’s Music Festival in Season 2 of Transparent.)