Two days cycling from Vilnius, we reached Žeimiai Manor House, location of Sapfo fest, the first fixed date that we made in the biketour calander when we were planning biketour 2016.
Sapfo-fest is the first independent community-initiated Festival in the Baltics, which seeks to connect and empower the queer community, fight prejudice and discrimination, as well as increase awareness and visibility of queers in Lithuania and the rest of Eastern Europe – and has now happened for the fifth time.
A lot of the biketour participants were super exicited for this festival. We arranged to arrive a day early to help with the festival preparations. We were warmly greeted, and started to prepare rooms for lectures and film screenings, before eating dinner with the organisers and other volunteers. The festival was starting the next day at 5pm, so the next morning was filled with sign painting, trash bag distribution, art gallery constrution. At 5pm people started arriving and setting up their tents, and the festival officially began!
The programme was a mixture of performances, lectures, discussions and music. Some highlights for us included the ‘polyshop’ workshop – a discussion about polyamory and how we relate ourselves to it, There was also a discussion on the last day about ‘non-hierarchical organising’ which obviously was interesting to the biketour organisers because of how we organise the biketour. We had an interesting discussion with the Sapfofest organisers and other local organisers about different ways to organise and the difficulties that sometimes arise. Of course, aside from all the workshops, we did some good partying and socialising, and eating falafel from a awesome collective (for more on tasty vegan food… see the Kaunas post!)
Much too soon, queer festival was over and all the tents left. We stayed to help clean down the site and share experiences with the organisers over dinner. I felt like we learnt a lot about organising community festivals, the local queer community, and everyone felt like the festival had been successful.