Festivals are notoriously hard work to run, never mind lesbian festivals. However, I’ve had the privilege of both working with L Fest when they planned their first event, to watching it grow and now attending the 10th and final L fest, in the Welsh town of Llandudno.
Lfest has become a lesbian institution, its memory, experience, friendships and even relationships will live on. There is so much to do at L Fest that 3 of us could write completely different reviews of our experiences at L fest but isn’t that the beauty of it. We all like different things and yes, you’ll never keep everyone happy but L Fest has had a pretty good try.
I attended with my 5 year old but I also experienced L Fest for years when I was child free and the only children around me were the possible adult children, who slept soundly as I drove them home.
Like many others, my L Fest properly kicked off at the Solos Meet & Greet, hosted by Roadtrippers. We were all handed a bit of paper, with various talking points, so we could, for instance; find a woman who wore glasses or attended the Unity Festival. Cindy Edwards is the director of L Fest and one of the things I’ve always been impressed with, is how Cindy has gathered loyall, hard working teams of crew and associates. Instead of competing with other festivals, Road Trippers, which was started by one of Cindy’s original crew, Voddy, complements L Fest and vice versa.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a childfree chance to see any of Les Flicks Cinema’s films, but I did only hear positive things about the films they had on.
L Fest is full of big names within the LGBTQ community but also regularly gives new talent a chance to perform. Comedian and songwriter, Lara A King opened and closed the big top’s parties.
For the early birds there were morning dog walks and yoga. My personal complaint was that sometimes there were two things on at the same time that I wanted to see – what a problem! York Based, award winning performer, Jess Gardham kicked off Saturday’s main stage entertainment. I rushed to catch the end of Jess’s show after Cat Brogan’s Omaghsexual, a one – woman show about queer parties and love in places where being gay was either illegal or highly frowned upon.
Before every show, I enjoyed the banter with old and new friends as we queued for the next show. It’s not possible to mention them all in this review but I was very glad of the headphones I’d bought my son, so I could enjoy Brighton Belszki’s show, ‘Me? No Pause!’.
Walking around L Fest, it seems that L Fest had become as much about having an annual pilgrimage to meet friends and make new ones, as it had been about the entertainment. Some women were attending their first L Fest and keenly asking about other lesbian festivals, others proudly announced that they’d never missed an L Fest.
I felt the same, I was as excited to see DJ Sandra D in person, as I was to dance to her tunes. Other DJ’s that kept me from my bed included DJ Gemma Torr, DJ Bee and Lady Heidi.
The closing party this year was emotional. The comedians never failed to make us smile. Lesley Kershaw in a suit, Annette Fagon and of course, Hannah Brackenbury with her amusing lyrics about tea and scrabble. Cindy gave her last closing speech, the 4 directors and crew gathered on stage. There were flowers as we all considered that this was the final closing of an L Fest festival.
A host of performers came on stage to sing “It Does Get Better”, an LGBTQ anti-bullying charity song, recorded by 17 of the Uk’s top lesbian performers back in 2012, as part of the L project. Many of the performers have performed at L Fest across the years. It was a fitting start to the closing party of a festival, that for many attendees and crew, it did get better.
It may have been the last L Fest but here are the links to some LGBTQ women’s festivals across the UK: