Les-tralia Day on the Sunshine Coast.
“Being able to provide an environment for the lesbian community in a way it has never been done before,” is the passion that drives Girlfest Managing Director, Nicci Madden.
“I love the awesome energy that is created at Girlfest each year. Women of all shapes and sizes, all different styles of living and financial backgrounds come together for one weekend and none of that matters — they are all the same and all equal for that small window in time”. If you’ve been to a Girlfest event, you’ll know exactly what Nicci is talking about.
Girlfest is the single biggest lesbian event held in Australia. Held over three nights and two days on Australia Day long weekend, women are entertained with a plethora of events in an exclusive all-women environment at the luscious Hyatt Regency resort at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
Girlfest is a unique combination of leisure and pleasure. It’s the best opportunity to relish in lesbianism, it’s a party, it’s sexy, it’s flirty, it’s sporty and it’s relaxing. It’s a reunion with friends and an opportunity to make new ones.
I was out for only a short time when I first attended. For me and other women in a similar situation it provides access to the lesbian world in an open environment where real and sustainable connections can be made with like-minded women.
Over 1000 ladies from all over Australia attended. Women travelled from Queensland and interstate metropolitan and regional areas. International guests from Denmark, the Netherlands and Canada celebrated our national weekend bender with us.
Girlfest a fabulous festival of freedom and celebration
Twelve Canberra women made the trek to the event. Some were regular punters and for others, it was their first time. And these Girlfest virgins loved every minute of the atmosphere.
The popular 80’s dance bar with DJ Ish, day-time pool parties, Sunday night movies and the comedy night were all back in 09. The comedy night is the first glimpse of all women together in one space. It’s a chance to reunite with Girlfest friends, scope the crowd and make eye contact with potential lady lovers.
A Girlfest comedy show veteran and MC for 2009, Julia Morris, reminded us in her high-energy style that “she’s not here to judge”. She kept the laughs rolling in between performances by Monica “my people” Dullard, Fiona McLaughlin and Jackie Loeb.
My international friends learnt a new meaning of “Map of Tasmania” thanks to the Aussie themed humour of Hannah Gadsby. She left me with a stomach so sore I felt like I’d just pushed out a 100 sit-ups only far more enjoyable.
New events added to the program for 2009 included Speed Dating, Wii Challenge, a karaoke bar, a solos club for women attending on their own and a variety of dance classes. All were a hit with girls, particularly the karaoke bar that saw Eliza’s Bar packed to the rafters. For ear candy, the talented DJ Sveta (Sydney) and DJ Neroli (Brisbane) kept us carving up the dance floor from Saturday night into early Sunday morning.
Saturday’s poolside party was alive with girls dancing and cheering for Christine Anu and Deni Hines. Likewise, Bluehouse brought one goose-bump moment after another on Sunday morning. The empowering energy of women celebrating music they love is what makes Girlfest the, “fabulous festival of freedom and celebration of women that it is,” for Canberra girl Jen.
I left Coolum feeling like I was walking on clouds and with a grin that wouldn’t move. Let’s hope the wait for the next Girlfest event isn’t too far away. Or perhaps it’s time for Canberra girls to have their own festival for women.
© Helen Stevens 2009