This weekend Sheffield's finest feminist and queer women
raised their voices as they celebrated their freedom of speech -
all whilst raising a whole bunch of money for charity. LaDIYfest
[Lay-dee-aye-why-fest] hit town and DIVA's Bella Qvist was there to
Having appeared in cities around the country, it is the first
time the anti-capitalist, community-based feminist LaDIYfest has
made it to Sheffield with its message to inspire people into taking
action for women's rights in the UK as well as around the world.
Excited to find out what the fuss is all about, I head on down.
The girl accepting my donation towards the suggested entry fee
looks happy and a little tired, but mainly happy. It is 3pm on the
Sunday when she says they are all feeling the repercussions of the
party from the night before and soon a wide grin spreads across her
face. Must have been a good night.
Take a seat she says, pointing at a room so full of people it
would burst at the seams if it could.
The Rutland Arms' pub attic room is rammed with eager listeners.
Some are even forced to stand in the staircase outside it, quietly
leaning forward on their tiptoes to be able to catch the story that
is being read out from within the sauna-like room. Bursts of
laughter at one girl's awkward period-syncing are followed by
serious stone faces as another lady read poems about domestic
The audience, full up on food provided by Sheffield Animal
Friends, covers all age groups and gender and the atmosphere is
almost family-like, despite (or maybe because of) us all literally
rubbing shoulders. T-shirts, home-made zines, magazines and CDs are
displayed on a table along the wall and the two young boys who have
come along with their mum are listening as intently as the bearded
man in the corner and the girl in dreadlocks standing in front of
There is little movement as the girl on the door announces that
the Writer's Group will be swapped for a live acoustic band. The
dedication is so present that you can almost touch it and I feel
overwhelmed at the genuine interest in an event promoting women's
rights. This kind of stuff should be on more often.
Earlier this weekend workshops have included titles like "Trans
Women's Lives and a Feminist Fit", "Gender And Advertising" and
"'Hey Love' - Street Harassment Today", an all girls band line-up
has sold out a gig venue and there is a film screening as well as a
feminist quiz still to come.
Organiser Cara Corden and her team have been working hard.
"This event was about creating a bit of awareness… about the
issues facing women and the feminist struggle, it was about
bringing people together to discuss ideas and concepts," she said,
still knackered two days later.
Thanks to much hard work and many a fundraising event prior to
it, the weekend was a success. And Cara is positive there will be
more to come in the future.
"It would be so good to continue doing things that can raise
money for local organisations and charities. I think that's why
this event was important, because we were raising money for such a
deserving cause," she explains.
With a sold out Saturday night gig and two full days worth of
workshops the all-girl run LaDIYfest Sheffield raised just over
£1200 for Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Service,
SRASACS. All that whilst reppin' those female ends. Brap.
Look out for more LaDIYfest related events in the New Year and
get involved already now at ladiyfestsheffield.wordpress.com