So yes! We got to Uttoxeter early Friday evening – much later than we thought, but that’s what comes of living with my wife and me not communicating my thoughts properly!
The first event (the welcome talk from Cindy!) didn’t start until 8.30pm anyway, so we didn’t miss out on anything. I get terrible FOMO.
L Fest had released an app this year with the timetable of everything that was going on over the weekend, a map, their twitter timeline, a list of performers/talks/workshops in alphabetical order, and you had the chance to tick the bits you wanted to go to, then the ‘My L Fest’ bit would show you your timetable based on what you had ticked. You could also create some L Fest ‘postcards’ with pics that you had taken and any pics you took on your camera that weekend would be automatically put in your timeline on the ‘My L Fest’ bit! It was a very nifty piece of tech. I believe it was the first time they have presented an app and it was very cool. My main bugbear was that they did the timetable by day and then by venue. It would have been nice to have just seen a list of events in order of time. If it was 3pm and you wanted to see what was going on, you would need to click into each venue to see what was on, and I found this a bit confusing and time consuming. I am sure that they are aware of this feedback though, and I hope that maybe they can work towards changing that for next year. To be fair, they did also provide printed out timetables from the Saturday. All in all, though, it was a great app and allowed all of the artists, including me, to promote themselves with a biog and links to their twitter account and website. Very helpful.
Here is an example of a postcard:
When you create one, you can share it, but it only shares it as a link. I think it would be nice to be able to download the pic I have shared a screenshot. You can keep generating a new one until you have one that you like.
Actually, the first event was at 7pm and it was the solos meet up – a fabulous service to provide. L Fest is really good at making single attendees feel included, and provide them with an opportunity to meet other solos as soon as possible on the Friday, which then helps them settle in for the rest of the weekend and make new friends (or more!)
So, here is a list of the venues:
Green Stage Tent/Truck
L Fest Dance
Funnily enough, the main stage is where all the big acts took place, like Saffron from Republica, Heather Peace, a lot of music acts throughout the day and the comedy night at the end of the weekend.
The Green Stage/Truck was a bit more cabaret stylee (to be used in the lightest sense of the word) with more music and some comedy. The truck and stage were different venues but basically, it was more about the weather. If it was sunny, the act could perform outside on the Truck Stage. If it was raining, they could perform inside the tent. It was mostly down to the artist to choose between the two. They also had a silent disco every night!
The Arts Stage is where a lot of talks/workshops were held and some spoken word events. The more ‘educational’ and calm part of the festival!
L Fest Dance…guess what…a lot of dance happened there! This was a big room based in the Grandstand of the racecourse. During the day it was various dance classes and at night it was DJ stylee.
The Creative Arena is cool. Its a whole circle of different tents, some of them offer little art workshops. My wife made a dreamcatcher last year but didn’t get the chance to do anything this year. There are also a few stalls about but it’s a big area, this bit.
Kids Area – L Fest are family inclusive too and make sure that there are some activities for children too. This tended to take place within the Creative Arena.
The cinema showed some fab queer and female-based films all weekend, and was in another part of the grandstand. I really wanted to watch a couple of things but the timings didn’t work this time for me, unfortunately.
The Retreat was in a building next to the grandstand and this is where you could get some beauty treatments or some massage. We intended to go in there and treat ourselves but we didn’t get around to it!
The Fire Pit was based in the campsite and was a place to hang out and wind down. We went there on our first night and it was lovely and chilled and a lovely person gave us each a massive marshmallow and a skewer each to toast it – thank you! It was quite quiet when we went there, but that was nice. The fire itself was modest. Maybe the word ‘pit’ made it sound more epic, but it was still lovely!
On our first night we just did a lot of wandering around and sitting down! We attended the welcome talk, we checked out the eating area. There were some great eaty places. The crepe van was ‘very lesbian’, she did some great crepe fillings which I’m sure a lot of the festival goers would have really appreciated! We had one with Biscoff spread, banana and cinammon – YUM! (My wife invented the combo!) There was also a fish finger sandwich van, a veggie food only van, some freshly cooked thai food, and there was more. It definitely wasn’t like the usual food vans at a festival. They were all small companies and seemed to be mostly lesbian/queer owned too. Nice one!
After popping our heads in to various bits and bobs and finishing our marshmallow at the fire pit, we went to sleep. We didn’t drink or party. I suppose for me, I had an important day ahead of me and my wife was being lovely and supportive!