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Something Different: FemFest

Updated: Sep 25, 2022

Tired of the 601? Been to every ball? Looking for something different? The Saint brings you the highlights from St Andrews’ weirdest and most wonderful events.

On Saturday afternoon, the Feminist Society hosted their second annual ‘FemFest’. Held in collaboration with GotConsent?, Saints LGBT+, Sexpression and Women for Women, the group provided a free afternoon of music, conversation, and crafts in the Botanical Gardens.

The atmosphere was relaxed and sociable, soundtracked by a series of excellent live student musicians. Whilst the Botanical Gardens are a little further out of the way - potentially limiting the reach of the event - it was a stunningly tranquil location, with the group having set up a marquee in the gardens’ orchard. Attendees were scattered across picnic blankets in the orchard of the Botanical Gardens making bracelets, collages, and tote bags as the calming acoustic sounds of Patrick Fewns, Emma Croft-Smith and Mairi Small drifted across the marquee. The Hummingbirds, St Andrews’ commended all-female a cappella group, also performed a stellar set which captivated the crowd. Stalls featured a feminist lending library, letter writing, and a message of hope wall.

Perhaps one of the most wholesome events I have ever attended at St Andrews, the afternoon was additionally an opportunity for the gender-based societies to recruit members and provide a space where important conversations about their respective causes could take place. Feminist Society and Saints LGBT+ provide students with a safe and inclusive community as well as being fundraising and advocacy groups. Furthermore, GotConsent? is a branch of student services which aims to raise awareness of sex and gender-based violence and educate students in bystander intervention; Sexpression is a charity which delivers sex and relationship lessons to young people across Fife; and Women For Women is an international charity providing women in war-torn communities the tools and resources they need to move towards self-sufficiency.

Elena Maria Ewence, co-president of Feminist Society, told me about how she felt the event was a successful start to FemSoc’s events calendar this academic year.

“Collaborating with other gender-based societies is something that is really important to us - today, we wanted to provide a space, particularly for people of marginalised genders, to come to meet others who believe in shared causes”, she said.

“I also really believe in the idea of joy as an act of resistance. We are often doing much more serious campaigning and I think it is important to balance that with light relief events that people can go to just to have fun and relax”.

Indeed, FemFest was a wonderful taster of what is to come from the Feminist Society. Following the success of their larger-scale events last year - from “Let’s Get Quizzical”, a pub quiz in collaboration with Drag Walk, to their anti-spiking protest “Big Night In” - we can expect both joy and resistance from the group this year.

Illustration: Sarah Knight

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