TUFFEST, a new two day festival at Seattle’s Judkins Park saw something very unique go down over the course of two days.
In a time when line-ups are given the utmost importance and are dominated by a majority of white, cis men TUFFEST aims to break the barriers. They want to uplift, expand and celebrate the female gender in all its glory. They celebrate the female, non-binary and trans electronic music community. During the day the festival was open for anyone to come and have a good time. There were art installations sprawled across the venue, musical performances and workshops by women in creative industries.
At night the festival takes on a totally different vibe with after parties which range from techno, custom built synth sets and experimental hip-hop.
TUF started back in 2015 as a small private Facebook group for women who wanted to share ideas, tracks, upcoming shows around town and interact in a man-free environment. The founder Katherine Humphreys, built the group till it was almost 80 women strong. “It’s really disheartening to go to electronic shows and see all of these men hanging out with each other and feel like none of the women in the room know each other” says Humphreys.
Within the one year time period of their inception they have started to occupy spaces next to some of the biggest festivals like Decibel, Sasquatch etc. TUFFEST also began to make workshops and activities exclusive for women instead of making it open for men and women. “What I found is that whenever there’s a mixed gender class, women tend to step to the back of the crowd, listen, wait while the men jump into it instantly” said Natalie Bayne from Seattle Sound Girls, an NGO which teaches audio production to young girls.
This has made men think too. Many men at the festival were supportive of the idea of keeping the festival open to girls who are interested in the field of electronic music. Many of them even step to the back of events to give women a chance to step ahead and get more involved.
Given the recent activity all over the world for equal rights, LGBT rights and feminists taking a stand for themselves, TUFFEST gives such women a platform to make a mark on the industry and also to learn more and more!