OutNewsGlobal’s Editor, Maz Gordon, founded Oban Lesbian Weekend last summer. She moved back to her home town of Oban shortly before covid hit and found it hard living somewhere that didn’t seem to have any LGBTQ community. After years of working in LGBTQ media and running events in Brighton, London and abroad, Maz decided that since there didn’t appear to be any lesbians in Oban, she would bring them.
From not being able to find any other lesbians in Oban, Oban is fast becoming a Mecca for LGBTQ women and non binary people, and not just for Oban Lesbian Weekend, since the event women throughout the year have contacted Maz, saying they have recently moved to Oban or are now thinking of moving to Oban.
Castles, Ceilidhs, Cruises, DJ’s and Dancing!
Women from all over the world are now coming to Oban. Founder, Maz Gordon, said “We have women coming from rural parts of the country who said that they felt isolated and didn’t have a lesbian community but since attending Oban Lesbian Weekend, they’ve made lifelong friends”. As an organiser, you can never guarantee how well women will gel but every time I look on my Facebook feed, I see women who met at Oban Lesbian Weekend and live nowhere near each other, off round the country to see their new friends.
Women from more urban areas are keen to enjoy Oban Lesbian Weekend’s scenic lesbian booze cruise and explore the island of Kerrera, where the Oban Lesbian Weekend crew lead walks to suit varying abilities.
Many come up to Oban Lesbian Weekend from England and make a week of it. Last year, a week later women were still in Oban enjoying scenic walks, kayak tours, ferry trips, scuba diving or just chilling out. Lots of women posted on the Facebook group and created mini meet ups outside the festival 4 days.
Daytime boat trips, paddleboarding, sea swimming or queer film and book workshops
Other daytime events including wildlife trips, an optional scenic lesbian booze cruise, The Isle of Mull’s fairy walks, walking options for those with disabilities, wild swimming and paddle boarding sessions & guided walks.
They also have less energetic pursuits like the very popular Oban Whiskey distillery tour, thermal spa experience in a hot tub full of lesbians overlooking the islands,a book workshop with lesbian fiction author, Wendy Hewlett; The documentary film Rebel Dykes and a workshop with the producer and hosted meals ranging from budget options to dining on Scotland’s finest seafood.
In the evening, Oban Lesbian weekend starts off with ice breaking games and hosted meals, as they believe it’s easier to meet over dinner, plus Oban is well known as the seafood capital of Scotland.
Could Oban soon also be the new lesbian capital of Scotland?
Women party the night away with top lesbian DJ Sandra D, who you might remember from Ruby Tuesdays in London, her time managing the famous Candy Bar promotions, LFest, Femme Fest or around Manchester. Singer Alabaster Queen is also well known on the lesbian festival circuit & if you’ve ever partied in Edinburgh you’ll have probably danced your socks off to Edinburgh’s DJ Trendy Wendy, who was so popular last year, they’ve invited her back!
The women’s ceilidh is also proving popular. How many women will have bought a kilt for the occasion or will be have some butches in suits or full kilts and femmes in shorter kilts? Leap Sports have partnered with Oban Lesbian Weekend for their ceilidh, as they both agree that a ceilidh is a great way to get women exercising as well as socialising!
Oban Lesbian Weekend is also getting a few international visitors and so are definitely doing their bit for Scottish travel and tourism. “We have one lady coming from Kuala Lumpur, another from Seattle and recently we’ve had a lady in Botswana join our group. Botswana only decriminalised homosexuality in 2019 and so this lady is desperate to get to the UK, find work and come to a place where she can be accepted, like at Oban Lesbian Weekend. Ladies on our Facebook group have offered to help with her travel, ticket and accommodation if she can get to Scotland in time. Moments like this really make all the hard work feel worthwhile”. Said Maz.
Another thing that’s different about Oban Lesbian Weekend is their niche meetups. At least 50% of attendees are coming solo and many are extremely nervous about coming alone. We are having a solo’s meet on the Friday night, which is only for people coming solo. Many women are looking to meet someone romantically but some may have left their partner’s at home and are just solo, looking to meet other solo’s.
We had a few newly sober women asking if anyone else was sober, so we decided to have a sober corner, where you can be sober for any reason and our bar stocks a great range of soft drinks and non alcoholic beer or cider.
Finally, poly relationships are a growing thing. Even at a lesbian festival it can be hard to find others with the same interests. Our poly workshop is getting a lot of attention on the socials. Some are actively poly and some are poly curious.
You might not be arriving solo, sober or be poly but if you are it’s nice to be able to find others in a similar situation. The Oban distillery tour is another optional extra, where women who had just arrived in Oban bonded over samples including the 60% proof ones, that we have been reliably informed you can take home in a bottle.
What’s not to like! If you’d like to be part of this historic event for Oban, we have been told that Oban Lesbian Weekend are down to their last batch of tickets, so get yours fast!