As Dry January takes hold across the nation, we shed light on initiatives pushing the wellness & connection angle beyond the month-long break from alcohol. From May 31st to June 2nd, 2024, the UK’s biggest festival for lesbian, bi, trans, and queer women, and non-binary folks, will be back in Lawrenny, Wales, as the go-to for an inclusive holistic celebration.
While Dry January suggests a pause from alcohol, Out & Wild Festival invites attendees into a space where wellness isn’t just a trend but a way of life. The festival rolls out a variety of experiences, from physical to mental wellbeing, self-discovery, and genuine connections.
The wellness buzz has caught on among queer events and initiatives. Not too long ago, there wasn’t much room for the queer community to celebrate themselves while working on their mental and physical health. Not for Profits’s like Queer Surf Club and communities like the Queer Wellness Collective have been playing a key role in this shift. However, Out & Wild Festival Director Polly Shute noticed that many initiatives, including Pride events, often leaned towards being male-focused or simply male-dominated.
Data from the festival organisation showed that only 21% of LGBT+ women attend LGBTQI-focused events at least once a month, while 19% never attend these events. A big obstacle, according to 45% of respondents, is the feeling that not enough events are aimed at women, and 41% feel that LGBTQI events are male-dominated.
On the flip side, most LGBTQ+ respondents are focused on wellness, in line with research showing that LGBTQI individuals often face unique challenges related to mental health and isolation. With this in mind, Polly kick-started Out & Wild, aiming to create a community and provide a safe space for lesbian, bi, trans, and queer women, as well as non-binary individuals, to work on their wellbeing together.
The festival’s success story, from a test run in 2021 to doubling attendance in 2023, speaks volumes about the desire for events prioritising holistic wellbeing. The 2024 edition promises a weekend bursting with music, comedy, DJ sets, wellness activities, spoken word, talks, sports, hikes, and interactive workshops – fostering a sense of belonging and shared experiences.
Out & Wild Co-founder, Polly Shute, stresses, “We made Out & Wild to be a festival that brings the community together through shared experiences. Our audience told us they wanted a space to meet like-minded others and focus on their overall wellbeing. In 2023, we doubled in numbers and are expecting almost 1000 attendees for Out & Wild 2024.”
Out & Wild encourages attendees to dive into yoga, breathwork, forest bathing, kirtan, gong baths, and workshops focused on health, menopause, and relationships. Partnering with the Bluetits movement, Out & Wild offers swim sessions and stand-up paddleboarding, promoting the importance of physical activity for mental wellbeing.
Attendees are welcome to camp, glamp, bring a campervan, or stay off-site, ensuring a welcoming environment with *fancy* toilets, hot showers, and even an on-site hairdresser. Is it the dream festival? Well, we think so.
Polly’s dedication goes beyond the festival dates, engaging the community year-round with mini-weekends, regional meet-ups, the Pride Swim series, and a Pride in Wellness virtual event week, starting on January 15th. For Out & Wild tickets or more information about the festival and other events, visit www.outandwild.co.uk.