Last weekend I headed up to Lake Mountain with a group of friends for a weekend of dancing, camping and all round good fun at the Gaytimes Festival. This was my first time at the festival and I was very excited to see what was on offer. Gaytimes is a boutique music festival that caters for the whole lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and gender diverse community. It is inclusive and welcomes all the colours of the rainbow and their friends.
The festivals lineup reflects a broad range of identities, backgrounds and music styles. What I enjoyed the most about the eclectic lineup was that I was exposed to performers who I would not normally have seen at the usual events I attend. I was pleasantly surprised and my mind expanded as I found myself really enjoying the diverse lineup. My stand out favourites were Alex the Astronaut and Miss Blanks.
Gaytimes also aims to provide a platform for new up and coming queer and gender diverse artists to be seen and heard. It’s a wonderful space where LGTBIQ people can come together and be themselves. The festival had a wonderful sense of openness and acceptance that I have found is lacking at some other Queer and Gender diverse community events.
As well as the musical line up the festival also featured events like Queer speed dating, Yoga, Gay Stuff Markets, Wank Bank with Rural Ranga, Pussy Play with Strawberry Siren and Life drawing. The Wank Bank was an especially fun workshop on masturbation that saw 100 people practising moves like the ‘cork-screw’ and the ‘Rock around the clock’ on over sized cucumbers and carrots with water balloon balls.
The location for the festival is spectacular. Lake mountain was ravaged by bushfire a few years ago and the undergrowth and forrest has been slowly growing back but the trunks of the dead trees still stand grey and dead. It gives the landscape a surreal element that is quite beautiful and a reminder of just how destructive an Australian bushfire can be. The location is also one of Victorias few ski resorts during the winter so while the days were warm and sunny the nights were icy cold unless you could find someone to share your sleeping bag. Luckily we were able to fit eight in to our five man tent so we were just fine.
The sense of freedom I felt on the mountain is something that is hard to describe and while I was very tired and ready to leave at the end I didn’t feel like I had wasted any time. The dancing and the music filled my soul every hour of the day and even when I was hangry or tired I was still enjoying myself. The people I met and the friends I made will always be with me and I can’t wait for next year.
If you are in Melbourne and looking for an inclusive Queer and Gender Diverse festival then I highly recommend Gaytimes.