Queer Spirit Festival 2019
This August, I spent five glorious days in the queer utopia that is Queer Spirit Festival. Situated in the Northamptonshire countryside, the site was spacious yet intimate with hot showers, clean portaloos (usually an oxymoron), Jem’s sauna, delicious vegetarian food and all kinds of beautiful places to relax and connect with fellow QS attendees.
I was lucky enough to hold three workshops over the 5 days; one focused on activism and two tapping circles. I loved being able to facilitate safe, supportive spaces for fellow queer folks to explore themselves and work collectively.
Each day was filled with interesting and cutting edge workshops held by facilitators from a wide range of practices, including sexological bodywork, shamanism, paganism, tantra, yoga and so much more. There was ceremony, fire, queer performance and so much dancing into the small hours. Not only was there so much to do, but for anyone struggling or in need of a friendly face, there was an excellent welfare team.
Needless to say, I didn’t want to leave.
At the closing ceremony, so many of us cried bittersweet tears. Tears of joy at what we’d just experienced, tears of sadness at what was on the other side of the campsite gates. The lack of local queer community for so many is painfully acute, as is the thought of having to go back into a world where you are constantly othered, having to hide who you truly are, and where hardly anyone knows what pronouns are let alone asks for and uses them appropriately. I was also acutely aware of my own privilege to be able to go back into the world relatively unjudged as an often straight-passing cis-woman.
In so many ways, Queer Spirit was a glimpse of what life could be like if people were able to explore gender, sexuality, spirituality and consent, each person able to express themselves fully without fear of judgement or shame.
I sincerely hope that more of these spaces come into existence for all of us. Certainly once you’ve experienced a space like this, everything else seems to fall short. Sadly, creating this kind of environment presents a myriad of challenges, including the huge amount of energy required from those who organise them. Personally, I’m intrigued to explore how Regenerative Culture, practiced by the likes of Extinction Rebellion, might serve as a vital pillar in the organisation of festivals like these and indeed the wider co-created community.
For now, I’m going to bask in the memories and think about how I can bring more of the Queer Spirit ethos into my community, both online and face-to-face.
If you’ve enjoyed this post and want to find out more about Queer Spirit festival, please visit the website and you might like to consider making a contribution to this incredible not for profit event. (NB: I haven’t been asked or paid to do this. I just love the festival)