Mothership Festival: A Coachella Valley Women’s Retreat

Musiq Scene – Katie Hargrove
August 14, 2017
Three women at NGLCC Conference
Photos: NGLCC Conference Opening Reception
August 17, 2017

There is a place where all who identify as women can go, commune, camp, collaborate, and celebrate. It appears once a year and, for now, only in Coachella Valley for three days and two nights. This campground, which caters to women of all levels of outdoor experience, boasts drum circles, yoga to ’90s music, self defense, and so much more from October 13-15.

What is this magical place called? The Mothership Festival and Retreat!

Three years ago, Laura Wise decided that the queer women of Southern California needed an event and a space to call their own. “I felt like there was a lack of political awareness around feminism and queer issues compared to San Francisco and Northern California,” said Wise. “I was really feeling that difference and I wanted to bring feminism and awareness around that to Los Angeles. “

Among the entertainment and activities lives a key concept that makes this festival different from many others: radical inclusivism. It is “the idea that anyone who comes to the festival, we want them to feel included and accepted and embraced,” said Wise. “Radical inclusion is beyond that. It’s being embraced for your individuality.” Wise has turned this three-day event into the kind of space that women can come and enjoy in groups or on their own. 

“I want this to be a place where women come and they meet other really interesting, like-minded women that they can collaborate with on their projects and their ideas,” she said. “That comes from the feeling that you can kind of walk into any group that’s there or go up to any person at the event and say, “hello,” and they will be kind and accepting and interested in what you have to say. That’s kind of a promise that you make to yourself when you go to this event—it makes for a really beautiful vibe and mentality at the festival.”

Tegan and Sara will perform at the festival this year and a portion of the proceeds go to their nonprofit, the Tegan and Sara Foundation. They will take part in an interactive panel and are part of an all women line-up of performers that includes FAARROW, Madame Gandhi, Hallie Johnson, and Bounce House.

If all of this wasn’t appealing enough, this retreat really caters to its attendees. For those who are traveling to California from abroad, a complete camp set can be ordered and reserved. The tent and sleeping bags will be set when you get there, and you can take the whole thing home at the end of the weekend.

For any non-cisgender women attending, the entire weekend and facility caters to you as well. “One thing that I think is important to talk about is that we are a trans-inclusive women’s festival,” says Wise. “Our festival, the way we put it is that anyone who identifies partially or wholly as woman is welcome, so that includes individuals that are in transition and non-binary individuals. If you have an identification with the female spirit, then you are welcome at the festival.”

Join Laura Wise, Tegan and Sarah, and hundreds of amazing female-spirited humans at this retreat in October. You never know who you will meet there and how this unique conference could change your life.

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Vickey D Casey
Vickey D Casey
Vickey is a tiny traveler extraordinaire with a knack for finding free fun. She is a D.C. transplant with Caribbean roots and flies a flag with colors pink, lavender, and blue.