(C) Amie Taylor (@spoonsparkle) 2015
LFest is the number one festival for lesbians across the UK, each year some 1000 women (and men and gender queer people) from across the UK and further afield, gather at Uttoxeter Racecourse for a weekend of music, arts, dancing and more. The Racecourse is a great venue, relatively easy to reach by car or train, and plenty big enough to play host to a number of stages.
This year’s line up for the music stage featured Stooshe, Lucy Spraggan, Faye Bagley and The Tuts, among many others. Alongside the Big Top music tent, there was an Arts Stage, Green Stage, Cinema, Creative Arena and lots of outdoor space, hosting a range of activities and events including the Dog Show (never have I seen so many dogs and cats on a campsite.)
It’s a great festival, with a welcoming vibe, and there were plenty of staff / stewards around, who were all incredibly helpful. I felt especially welcomed by the team at the gate giving out wristbands, they were quick to help with any questions and really friendly. Over the weekend there was a really varied mix of the arts: films, music, theatre / improv / literary events and workshops – loads of stuff for grown ups and children alike. A highlight for me was improv provided by the Short and Girlies, in the Arts tent. They also hosted workshops during the weekend for both adults and children. I also felt hugely inspired watching the Cunning Linguists – a poetry / spoken word event held in the Green Tent, headlined by poet Sophia Blackwell.
Cindy Edwards, the festival’s organiser, seems to have thought of everything, having all bases covered. Something that particularly grabbed my attention was the LFest solos – a great initiative for those attending the event weekend on their own. You can join their group prior to visiting the festival and it’s there to support anyone attending on their own. On the Friday evening they hosted a meet and greet for all of those attending on their own, and even designated a separate camping area. Lauren (a member of the solos group) said she met and made friends instantly, all of whom she’s really looking forward to seeing again next year. While Chris noted it was her first LFest as a solo and certainly won’t be her last. Deeanne felt that it’s women at their best coming together and uniting, friendships are made and bonds are formed, a kind of networking that has been needed for years. If you were thinking of going next year, you can join the solos group now to get a feel for what they get up to. [You can read all of the solos feedback here.]
The entire event felt incredibly well organised and slick – all seemed to run without a hitch. There was a brilliant variety of entertainment – something for everyone, and an equally eclectic range of shops and food stalls. My only one disappointment with the weekend was that some of the music acts felt as though they were over a little too soon – the bands and singers played thirty minute sets, but I know for Stooshe and The Tuts it could have easily been fifty minutes, people were just warming up to the dancing, as the sets ended – not a grumble though, just commending the brilliant line up.
It is very much a stomping ground for gay women, so if you identify as such and have an insatiable love of camping, arts and meeting new people then this is most certainly an annual date to block off in your diary.
LFest will be back next year, visit their website for more info http://www.lfest.co.uk or follow them on Twitter: @LFestEvents