CampOut Celebrates Nature, Music, Camping, and Womanhood
Women are invited to camp out at CampOut on Friday, May 24, for an all women’s music festival in Kent Store, Virginia. The festivities begin at noon on Friday, and continue through the weekend until Sunday at midnight. A few of the all female bands that will be performing are Wicked Jezebel, Indigie Femme, and Tret Fure(video below). At this primitive campground, there are three cabins for rent, and endless tent space on this nearly 100-acre, off the beaten path plot of land. Don’t have a tent? Feel free to rent one, along with a hammock!
Every Memorial Day weekend, for more than 20 years, masses of women have gathered at the Campout Virginia Women’s Music Festival to celebrate being a woman and to enjoy the music of female bands. This feminine empowering tradition began when Janet Grubbs had a vision to create a campground that would be almost exclusively for women. Grubbs wanted to create an environment that would allow women to enjoy wilderness without the fear of being attacked or bothered by men. Billie Hall took over the campground from Grubbs and serves as the producer, and is also one of three elders that owns the land.
Men have the ability to traverse the world feeling more secure than women simply because of their masculinity, according to Hall. “Even if women don’t feel like anyone is going to harm them physically, a lot of times they have to put up with some verbal ‘hey, come on over here to our camp and sit down and have a beer with us’. We provide a very safe and secure and calm atmosphere for people who are women who want to come and just camp.”
CampOut’s campground is heavily focused on women and giving them a place to be themselves. This includes lesbian women and their partners. The gay to straight ratio is not something that hall concerns herself with. Hall said, “We do not do any kind of tracking of that, that’s not on our survey. We just welcome all women. I would say that probably a large majority of the women are probably gay.” In this vein, they are dedicated to ensuring that transgender people feel comfortable and judgment free.
Allowing transgender women is something that this campground is happy to do, but there are a few stipulations for admittance. “We allow trans if they live with a woman, and they have drivers license that shows that they are a woman. And while they are here on the property, if they conduct themselves like a woman in their dress. We don’t expect you to show that you’re not a woman by your body parts.”
Many of the women who attend Virginia Women’s Music Festival return the next year, and often, for years after that. “It’s almost like a big family reunion every year” said Hall. “You see people once a year and you see them at the festival and it’s just like a big old come home week where everybody’s here and we have a lot of return artists and participants.” The reason that women tend to return is the unique vibe that CampOut gives off. This uniqueness is derived from the way that the camp was created and is maintained. Hall explained that “We build all our own buildings, we do all of our own work, we mow all the grass, we do all the weed eating, we lay all our electric lines ourselves. So we do 99% of all the improvements that are done and maintaining the property.”
Hall has perfected a method that she uses to select the performing bands. She is in charge of hiring all of the performers and her impartialness is an asset when it comes to making the choices. “I tend to lean towards people who are very easy to get along with and who are just really good people. So what I do is start with someone who is well-known, and I talk to them and they will recommend someone else that they has opened for them that will fit in here. They know what our venue is like. I’m always looking for new talent.”
Hall feels that “it’s my job as the producer to be here forever and to provide this land for everybody.” Go out the city this Memorial Day weekend to enjoy the safe yet rugged woods, the company of other women, and the music of female powered bands.
For more information, details about the event, pricing and directions, check our the CampOut Website here.
Being assigned to cover the Virginia Women’s Music Festival seemed like the ideal opportunity to escape Richmond. First, the campground was less than an hour away. Second, there will be music which is always a plus. Finally, there would be only women there. Living, working and going to school in Richmond often makes me forget [...]June 3, 2013
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