The Sherp chronicles some of the most common struggles faced by women heading to a music festival. We got your back.
While being a woman in a thriving patriarchal world is struggle enough, a music festival is a whole another struggle to deal with. We empathise so much, that we have for you a list of struggles that you might have faced, or will face if you’ve ever intended to go to a music festival. Lend a crying shoulder.
Getting permission to go to the music festival in the first place
If you’re a girl trying to go to a music festival, you will know the effort that goes into getting your parents to permit you to go in the very first place. Music festivals are notorious for everything that goes wrong at them – from rampant drug usage to sexual assaults, from late night revelry to chaotic crowd behaviour. All this makes permissions really hard to come by.
Not so much for your male friends, though, who cannot seem to understand why it’s so hard!
Not being able to go to a music festival alone
The Sherp has over and over encouraged solitary music festival experiences. In fact, it is a journey worth taking up. But, if you’re a girl, kiss your lonely festival excursions goodbye. Because, not only will your parents not have any of it, but pulling it off by itself is a massive struggle.
From trying to hitch a ride, to hoping to camp along to attempting a ‘friendly conversation’, it’s mostly just a bunch of creepy encounters.
The judgement if you choose comfort over fashion
That one look from a crop top and high heel sporting fashionista is enough to make you feel like an outside.
While music festival fashion is one of the most affecting aspects of festival culture, for women, the pressure to be fashionable is just so much more intense. If you choose comfort over fashion, for instance, then you’re met with not so welcoming a behaviour from others of your kind. The Sherp would rather you not give two hoots about it, and dress as you please. And ladies, be kind to each other, even if you don’t agree with their sartorial choices.
You ask a man for a lighter, he’ll eagerly fish it out from someone else even if he doesn’t have one on himself. If you ask a guy for a direction, he would rather he dropped you to the very stage you want to go to. The ‘Free Hugs’ trope would not bother asking for your permission before coming in for a feel. Before you’ve managed to wade off every unwanted advance, you’ve missed your favourite set.
Dear men, there’s friendly behaviour, and there is overwhelming enthusiasm and the latter is not welcome.
In fact, it’s impossible to have a girls’ time
If you wish to go to a music festival with just your girls, for a nice group getaway, take it from us that it will be impossible for you to have a truly immersive experience without having a group of boys, pretending to be jocks, wishing your groups became one. That would be alright if a friendly ‘no’ would suffice, but more often than not, it’s the persistence that gets doubly annoying.
The groping when you’re at a stage
The sad reality of this situation is that each one of us has known one girl who has been groped at a music festival. And some of us are that girl. You’re literally lucky if you manage an entire musical set in the middle of a group of people without getting groped. What’s worse is that many of these gropers “seem to be so drunk” that a fight with them after that seems nearly futile. Some groping horror stories are so scary, that many girls virtually think twice before heading inroads into the crowd.
Squatting over the dirty portaloos
Now, only if we could stand and pee.
It’s ridiculous that music festivals with dirty portaloos don’t realise that almost half of their demographic is the female kind, who do not have the biological luxury to stand and use the toilet, even if they wanted to. Most of us have spent agonising moments trying to squat over portaloos without touching its base, and our shorter girlfriends have had no such luck.
Periods. ‘Nough Said.
It isn’t exactly a party when you have to attend a music festival during your menstruation cycle, but the hygiene conditions at the event make it that much worse. We’ve mentioned the dirty portaloos, but it’s even more horrid to not have clean spaces to just change yourself should you want to. The lack of proper disposal methods is alarming, to say the least.
Dear festival organisers, every time you have dirty hygiene system, you have more than one girl swearing off your festival.