That Was LaDIYfest

I spent all of Saturday in Bristol at LaDIYfest, a one-day feminist conference. Most of the day was taken up with workshops at Cafe Connect. In the evening there was a gig at Roll for the Soul, the bicycle cafe.

First up in the workshops was Laura Welti from Bristol Disability Equality Forum. That organisation is the disability equivalent of LGBT Bristol, so Laura and I have very similar experiences of dealing with the City Council and we had some useful conversations. Hopefully I learned a few things, but it is really hard to fund accessible venues in central Bristol without paying a fortune for the rental.

The second workshop featured Camille Barton who was talking about white allyship. Like me, Camille has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it was a great relief to me to have her confirm my suspicion that racism in the UK is often just as bad as it is in America; it is just more polite. Camille is already working with Ujima as part of our Arts Collective, and I’m hoping she will be able to come on my show in the New Year to talk more about her work.

Then there was me. The fourth workshop of the day was cancelled so I had plenty of time to talk. Nevertheless I see to have hit the 45 minute mark almost spot on. There were some really great questions — more than 15 minutes worth — and it was really pleasing to have such an engaged audience. There were a few people there who identified as trans in various ways, which was also pleasing. None of them told me that I was wrong, which was a great relief.

Part of me desperately wanted to go home and sleep, but Ren Stedman was playing in the gig so I made my way into town, had dinner at Tuk Tuck, and settled in for the evening.

Roll for the Soul is a great location, but perhaps not ideal for music. It is a cafe, decorated with cycling gear and the occasional actual bike. It was not designed for acoustics. Some acts did better than others.

First up was Pik-C who has a very interesting voice. I really liked her stuff.

Violet Scott sounded good too, but she was clearly missing her band. If I have understood stuff on Facebook properly they disbanded recently.

Emily Magpie makes really interesting music. Unfortunately it is the sort of music that needs you to listen closely to it, which is hard to do in a busy cafe where lots of conversations are going on in the background.

The members of Drunken Butterfly were also involved with organising LaDIYfest so they had a lot of their friends around to support them. It was great to have an actual band performing, but they had quite a bit of trouble with the tech and I don’t think they ever got the sound mix right.

The lesson, I think, is that for a venue like that you really want the person-with-guitar type acts. Fortunately that’s just what the headliners were.

Sadly I had to leave part-way through Ren’s set because of trains. But we did get to catch up beforehand and he has a very interesting potential project in Brighton that I want to learn more about. You can listen to him here, and buy his music here. One of the songs he did on Saturday was also in his set for Bristol Pride. It is called “Love Wins”. Here he is on the main stage in Bristol.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay for Lilith Ai, but here’s an example of her music.

All in all it was a pretty good day. The organization was a little wonky at times, but that’s volunteer-run events for you. I’m certainly happy I did it.