Who here remembers my blog post that I wrote about L Fest last year? I visited it for a day and loved it! I wrote a post advising all LBQ women and their friends to go, and if you didn’t, I am going to write up how it went this year. I went there for the whole weekend with my wife and it was a mixture of business and pleasure this time.
The main reason we went last year was to see whether I wanted to trade there. The problem was that there were so many fun things going on that I didn’t want to be tied to a stall all weekend but it was the perfect place for me to bring my business to! As I am trying to move my business model away from retail and more into public speaking and education, Cindy – the organiser – agreed that I could have a couple of speaking gigs instead. Perfect!
I was to do ‘Sex Geek Natter with Rhiannon Kemp-Davies’ at 2.30pm on the Saturday in the Arts Stage and have a good ol’ queer sex toy soiree later on at 6pm in the Green Tent.
In our 5 years together, my wife and I have never been camping together. We have both done it a lot in the past, but we agreed that as we didn’t have any camping equipment, we were going to try out ‘glamping’ and we hired a Green Yurt. This was something that we splashed out on. As I am a small owner of a new-ish business, I haven’t yet made enough money for me to take out of the business yet, so my budget has been terribly tight for 2 years. I couldn’t quite afford a European weekend getaway so we agreed to camp in luxury with a yurt instead. This was our summer holiday! Our review of the yurt was that it wasn’t as good as what we hoped for. Yes, we had our own power supply, yes we had a lockable door and yes, we could stand up in the tent! We also paid for Green Yurts to provide bedding and air mattresses. It ended up being quite a difficult tent to sleep in. We opted for 2 single air mattresses instead of a double because of our size! There was barely any room for us to move around, and trying to navigate a tent whilst rolling around on 2 air beds wasn’t fun! We got ourselves a puppy maybe a month prior to coming and brought him with us (important to socialise the pup at an early age!) and there was just about enough room for his small crate. There was also a big flappy thing at the top of the tent, which was part of the structure and kept the tent from blowing it away, but it made a lot of noise when it was windy, so as it is Uttoxeter Racecourse, we had the flapping pretty much constantly. We made do, though, and didn’t complain about it. We got on with our weekend, but we left at 11.30pm on the final night so that we could get home and sleep in our normal beds. The Green Yurt guys were lovely, but the price they charged (£490) wasn’t appropriate in our opinions. They used solar power energy, though, which we liked! There were different sizes – we were in the smallest one. We could have upgraded and got a slightly bigger one with proper camping beds. There were also bell tents, but goodness knows how much thy were. We are already chatting with some friends who are more serious about coming next year and whether sharing a big bell tent would be cost effective. There is no doubt that we are going to want to come every year but need to figure out if we should invest in some camping equipment (although the car was jam packed because of the stock I brought) or pay for a dog friendly B&B in Uttoxeter…or share a big bell tent with friends! Can you hire a winnebago?!
What was good about being on the campsite, though, was the sense of community and camaraderie. All those who had forked out for a yurt or a bell tent were in one part of the racecourse and because of another part being waterlogged, everyone else who was camping had to move up a field, so our little yurt community must have looked like right jammy bastards! There are 2 sets of showers placed in the racecourse, I think there were 5 showers in each set. On the first morning, one of the sets had broken, so the queues were a bit sickening, BUT at least there was at least one set of showers to go to still! Obviously most of us wanted to shower at around the same time so there will always be queues, but it is a chance to chat with people, which adds to that sense of community. We got on with all of our yurt neighbours a lot, and funnily enough, 2 doors down, was another couple from Cardiff who we had met a couple of times before because we have a couple of mutual friends!
Oh, something I want to add is that when you buy your ticket for the weekend, camping is included. We obviously paid extra for the yurt. A LOT extra!
Ooh, I tell you what is also nice. Almost every person there loves dogs! We noticed how many dogs there were last year so were looking forward to being one of those with a dog! Our yurt neighbours all loved him and kept him entertained and covered in love, and it took us ages to walk to anywhere because so many people wanted to stop and say hello to him! It was very flattering and it was lovely to see him get so much attention…but my gosh it was difficult to get anywhere on time! There was one girl who screamed in his face because she found him that adorable! They also have Doggy Day Care, which is a fab service to have as part of the ticket price. Sometimes we would leave Ollie in the tent in his crate for a bit to chill, sometimes he would be with us and sometimes he was in doggy day care. Many people we met said that we should take him to the dog show on Sunday morning too – he is very cute! Here is a pic of him at my talk!
Ok, so this post is a bit more of a preamble, but a good way to communicate the feel of the festival and also give you an idea of the yurts! The second post will be about the rest of our first day and what L Fest has to offer.