|There you have a renowned women's music festival right outside your own front door and the organisers tell stories of fear and inhibitions preventing the local women from attending. "Nonetheless we are also noticing an increasing number of regional visitors," says Syrie, one of the seven organisers from Hunsrück. And amongst those active in women's politics, the term Women's Music Festival is quite well-known anyway: it stands for music, art and culture in general, for communication and internationalism.
In these times of global networking, the 700 women campers did not only come from all across Germany, but from far beyond: from all over Europe, from America, Africa and Asia. A far cry from the uniform image of women, standardised in size and world view, portrayed on the front pages of Vogue and Madame, the women here demonstrated their diversity and skill as crafts women, artists and, of course, musicians.
Respect for Nature
The organising team had all things logistical well under control: music, tent set-up, technology – for the entire three days all this was exclusively in women's hands. And more than that. Remarkable innovations could be found on the sunny festival grounds behind Sohrschied: No cigarette ends littered the ground as jars with screw lids could be found on all tables and benches. Bottles or any other rubbish could not be found lying around anywhere: a clever deposit system, many waste bins, and a general respect for nature guaranteed cleanliness on the festival grounds.
For wheelchair users, an accessible infrastructure had been installed all across the festival grounds, so that the stage, quiet tent, children's tent, and the disabled toilet could be accessed. "By the way, the tile system can be rented by other event organisers", says Syrie, regarding this as a useful way to repay some of the 20,000 euro debt that has accumulated over the past six festivals. At the weekend, numerous women already adopted individual tiles and were allowed to paint them immediately, thus over time creating a path similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At the entrance, women decided themselves how much to pay for their tickets according to a sliding scale based on income. Presentation of all festival events was in German and English. Every day there was an open stage for all those who wanted to have a go at performing. Instead of destructive booing and throwing of tomatoes, a usual occurrence at events of this kind, the audience listened attentively to those who mustered up the courage to go on stage. The usual distance between those on stage and those in the audience had disappeared. A further luxury in the great outdoors were the additional flush toilets that had been installed.
The next Women's Music Festival will take place in 2004, and hopefully there will be a greater response from local women, too. After all, female musicians are a rare sight at mixed open air festivals – an absolute error, as was demonstrated yet another time by the top-class programme presented over the three days.
And the prejudice that only lesbians enjoy music made by women, is really nothing but a prejudice.