A Women’s Festival For Everyone

Mothership will combine art, music, and feminism in the Coachella Valley.


Maria Arayza


In 2015, Laura Wise found herself yearning for a sacred women-only space where attendees could connect with one another in a festival setting filled with music, fashion, and art. “I was really coming into my own feminism and felt really passionate about it, and I felt like it was something we weren’t talking about a lot in L.A. There wasn’t a ton of political awareness around feminism at that time, not like there was in San Francisco and New York,” Wise says.


“I really wanted to create a space for people to talk about feminism and gender equality, and make it fun, and make it a space where people who don’t necessarily identify with that label might come and be a little seduced by it.”


Laura Wise photographed by Anna FalZETTA


The event, now called MOTHERSHIP, has grown over the last two years, and has expanded into a three-day, two-night festival and retreat in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, Calif. This year, it takes place October 13 through 15, and Wise has included something for everyone to be “a little seduced by.”


“The experience was designed specifically as a campout, because I know when you’re roughing it and camping with other women, that really brings people together. It was really successful last year because people left with life-long friendships, and women met and started collaborating. So many partnerships came out of that event. We have workshops and programming all day, then at night we have music and it’s all girls on stage. The programming throughout the day is any wacky thing you can think of,” Wise says.


Mothership is designed to be an LGBTQ safe haven.


Mothership panel; photo by Samantha Snitzer 


“I am very adamant that it is an inclusive event. Anyone who identifies partially or wholly as a woman is welcome, and that includes non-binary individuals, mid-transition M to F women, the whole spectrum,” Wise says.


This year, Wise partnered with the newly established Tegan and Sara Foundation, a nonprofit headed up by Tegan and Sara Quin, whose mission is “fighting for economic justice, health, and representation for LGBTQ girls and women.” A part of all ticket proceeds will be donated to the foundation.


“They were really excited about working together with us and amplifying their mission. Tegan and Sara will be onsite—we’re going to do a special interactive event in which we talk about women claiming their power, women in media, women in music. And there will be interactive elements for the audience to participate in, so you can come and hang out with Tegan and Sara,” Wise says.


Ticket prices include access to all panels and workshops, nighttime entertainment, and a campsite. Food trucks will be available onsite to provide fuel in between all the female-focused fun.


“Everything is funky and fun, and the political elements are woven into the event in a really organic way. You’re not going to know that you’re having this intense political experience until you leave. There’s booze, there’s music, there’s dancing, there’s camping, and a lot of the workshops are really fun. I want this to be a break for women, it should be enjoyable and relaxing.” 


Mothership Festival and Retreat, October 13-15, get your tickets here.


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