London’s first LezFest, an all-day festival for queer women and gender non-binary people, took place in Stockwell and drew a crowd of 170 people.
Hosted on May 11 at the Cavendish Arms pub in Stockwell, the programme boasted 14 hours of workshops, talks and day activities, with an evening cabaret and after party.
Tickets for LezFest completely sold out three weeks before the event, with a waiting list of 40 more hoping to get in.
LezFest was dreamed up by a group of friends from South London who all identify as lesbian, bisexual or queer women.
Tired of finding most LGBT events are either for gay men or revolve around clubbing, they decided to make their own much-needed space for queer women that was explicitly inclusive of trans women and gender non-binary people.
Charlotte Williams, 22, a tattoo artist from Lewisham, said: “We organised LezFest as an inclusive and accessibles space for all queer women, trans and non-binary people, to come together for a day, to explore our varied cultures, to learn from each other and to celebrate. “We never expected to sell out at all, let alone in only four weeks.”
LezFest is hosted 50 years since the Stonewall riots, where queer trans women and lesbians in New York first fought back against homophobic oppression and started the gay liberation movement.
Hannah Smith, 36, a charity worker from Southwark, said: “It’s 2019 but there really is so little out there relevant to the lives of lesbians, and even less if you are disabled by inaccessible venues, or events that don’t reflect your experience or culture.
“If we want places to go as queer women and gender non-binary people, we have to create them ourselves – LezFest proved to us that there is so much appetite for coming together as a community beyond just club nights.”
LezFest is currently deciding on its next event and would like input from the community as to where and when they could do it – if you have any ideas or want to get involved you can contact it at [email protected]
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