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Jessica Bateman explains why she got involved in Ladyfest London, in this guest post

ladyfest posterI first found out about the plans for another Ladyfest London when I stumbled across the MySpace profile during some absent-mindedly browsing of the internet. I’d attended several other festivals around the country and was pretty excited to hear that one was finally going to be held in my city of residence again. I immediately fired across a message asking how I could get involved.

As well as being great places to meet and network with other feminists, Ladyfests always offer a chance to experience loads of interesting, creative female talent which can be pretty thin on the ground at more mainstream events. Because it’s not a commercial enterprise in the same way as most festivals, the organisers can afford to take risks with the programme in ways that bigger promoters never could. Ay what other similar-sized event could you learn about bike maintenance and DIY publishing, watch the lesbian karma sutra, see comedy and cabaret performances and then boogie to a Hollywood-soundtrack featured artist, all while knowing that your cash is giving much-needed help to worthwhile causes rather than being stuffed in the grubby pockets of Mr Club Promotor/Beer Brewer?

Ladyfest also shows how to put on a festival that’s ethical, non-hierarchal and has a social conscience without compromising on the customer’s experience. With a growing dissatisfaction in our city with the increasing commercialisation of music and the arts, and the growing free/squat party scene which has sprung up in retaliation, this is just what an audience of cynical fans needs in our city.

But most of all, Ladyfest is fun! With all the media stereotypes of us feminists being miserable, angry, prudish killjoys, it would certainly shock a few Daily Mail journalists to see so many of us coming together for a huge party. The festival aims to be all-inclusive and accessible, so that those new to feminist politics or checking out their first ever Ladyfest feel just as welcomed as seasoned veterans. Neither are we subscribing to one particular strain of feminist thought, instead seeking to provide a friendly, relaxed environment where we can come together and celebrate women’s talent and creativity regardless of the finer points of our beliefs.

So what else better are you going to do this weekend than check out some great music, films, art, comedy, performance, with a huge dollop of feminist politics on top, all while having an immensely fun time? We’ll be seeing you on Friday then.