By Helen Owton:
L Fest is the UK’s award winning lesbian music, arts and comedy festival which was held on 17-20 July 2015. It is a particularly unique and open space for LBT women to celebrate diversity and equality whilst enjoying authors, discussion, poetry, creative workshops, dance, music, comedy, sports and family.
Each year, Rubyfruit (@rubyfruitwomen) organises a group trip to the festival and this year the event did not disappoint!
There are plenty of opportunities to participate in activities with workshops on dance (e.g. Latin & ballroom, salsa, Brighton flashmob, line dancing), poetry, a DIVA magazine sex academy, figure drawing, a dog show, song-writing, yoga, creative writing, meditation, drumming, humourology, Short & Girlie Improvisation and many more.
In much of mainstream culture, men tend to dominate in many arenas, for example, comedy. It is here where we are rewarded with some of the best and funniest female comedians performing in front of us. The extremely popular Lara A King, wickedly spontaneous Nikki Mitchell and the funtastic Short and Girlies are regulars at L Fest and this year Bethany Black and Zoe Lyons were star acts of the night - just when we thought we didn’t have the stomach muscles to laugh anymore, they made the place roar and erupt with laughter.
On top of this, there is some extraordinary musical talent from many LBT women. The main stage saw The Tuts, Stooshe, Lucy Spraggon, Greymatter, and The L Project. But there were some exquisite acoustic talent in some of the other tents as well, for example, Kayleigh Manners and Beth Prior.
Cindy Edwards is the phenomenal festival director and each year she has a very friendly L Fest Crew to support her vision and promote the event. Even though it is in its fifth year and there are more and more women and families each year, there are still many LBT women who are unaware of its being. This year they received funding from the Arts Council England in recognition of the creative contribution the festival makes to LBT communities to incorporate a creative arena which includes activities (e.g. pottery, wood carving, and weaving), work from 8 artists and a graffiti wall in collaboration with Nomad Clan Graffiti artists.
I feel extremely lucky to be part of such a wonderful event but as Ali Hendry (@AliAdolphTGF) commented before the finale to remind us of our obligations to maintain a feminist consciousness, “I don’t want to feel lucky to have equality, we need to get to the stage where equality is a non-issue”.
*Photo taken by Nicky Mitchell (comedian, songwriter, performer) from the main stage.