‘SheROO’ gives female, non-binary Bonnaroo attendees safe place to camp

Photo courtesy of Bonnaroo

“SheROO” was established last year at Bonnaroo with only about 30 women in attendance. Since then, that number doubled at Bonnaroo 2018, resulting in over 70 female and non-binary Bonnaroovians camping together at Tennessee’s popular festival. Most women hear of SheROO through word of mouth or the themed community camping page on the Bonnaroo website.

The women’s camp was created to provide a safe place for women to camp, no matter the age, race or sexual orientation of the campers. Since last year, SheROO took the opinions of campers and provided things that they thought would improve the overall experience. Some of these improvements included a larger tent, bean bags, activities and a privacy fence so that women could walk around topless if they wanted to.

Mauren Kennedy, 27, from Little Rock, Arkansas, came to SheROO with her little sister, Maddie Kennedy, 25, to celebrate Mauren’s birthday at Bonnaroo.

“We are two young women that are at this festival by ourselves,” Kennedy said. “Our family is out of state, and the cell service isn’t that great. So, it’s really good to have a safe space to come back to.”

Mauren said that she tries to attend as many festivals she can a year but, “this type of community experience is unlike any other festival I’ve ever been to.

“SheROO really blows your mind because it’s not just general camping with chicks,” Maddie said in agreement with her older sister. It’s almost like a full-on spa”

The camp was hosted by MOTHERSHIP, a festival held for women in Los Angeles, California. This is designed so women are surrounded by others that can empower them and make new friends.

SheROO 2018 cost an additional $50 to join, and the money profited the Tegan and Sara Foundation. The foundation fights for equality, economic justice and representation for LGBTQ women and other non-binary individuals.

The tent was decorated to create a safe space for the women, including fairy lights, tapestries and a book in which women could write down improvements for future SheROO’s.

Morgan Pierce, 28, from Dallas, Texas, came to SheROO for a second year with her girlfriend Linzi Vanmeter.

“Last year was just the beginnings of SheROO,” Pierce said. “It had a very similar vibe, and I feel like the best thing about this camp, in particular, is that they really listened to what we had to say as far as what we wanted to see for improvements.”

Shyama Kuver, 30, from Washington, D.C., came to Bonnaroo because she was asked to paint the SheROO mural. Kuver is an independent artist and said that the mural took two full days to complete.

The mural really reflects difference and connectedness, but also shows that people can be very different,” Kuver said. I really wanted to infuse it with life. So, I created wooden pieces that people who are staying here could paint, and then we added them onto the mural so that everybody’s kind of a part of it. There have been so many opportunities for people to come together and feel free to be comfortable in their own skin.”
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