I interviewed Annie Bryant, one of the organisers and promoters of the festival, to find out more:
How was the Red Tent Festival born (so to speak)?
Local midwife Suzanne Weir was inspired by the Be Bold movement in NY where women were gathering and creating their own 'Red Tents' where women would come together to share their birth stories. Suzanne got together with the Norther Rivers Maternity Coalition 2009 President Vicki McCallister and together they planned a whole festival including workshops in the day and the very special evening of birth stories. I jumped on board around that time and the 3 of us plus many many more helpers birthed our first Red Tent Fest in 2009, including workshops, basket weaving, nurture space, birth films, birth stories and lot's more. The festival has now grown to become as much about all women of all ages and stages as it is about birth and is really a true celebration of the "amazingness" of women!
Why is the festival so important for our community?
Because women are amazing!! And the more we get together as women, feeling safe to share, laugh, cry, connect and most importantly validate our own truly unique experiences as a woman in the world - the more that soft yet powerful feminine strength will continue to move our world towards a brighter future. The feminist movement did a fantastic job of demonstrating that women can achieve just as much as a man on many levels, particularly in a very masculinised society. It's now time for women as mothers, nurturers, soft-warriors and more to be celebrated and valued by our society as an important contribution to healing our world.
What are you looking forward to most about the festival?
Being with women in totally woman-centred environment. When I do spend time around just women I definitely am more in touch with a lovely side of myself that that I want to nurture more in my life.
In this moment, what are you grateful for?
What a great question! I'm so grateful for so much in my life. Apart from my beautiful children, my loving and supportive partner and my privileged existence living not only in the West but in the Byron Shire (!!!), I am especially grateful for my own Mother and her Mother and her Mother. I am so lucky to have a wonderful, nurturing, seemingly ego-less and inspiring role model as her in my life. She is a constant source of love and friendship for me (teary).
What are you trusting in?
Great spirit, the universe, the goodness in us all, always.
What are you inspired by?
Connections with other human beings when you get those chills up your spine and you know you have just received and given something beyond the intellect.
The Red Tent Festival is on this weekend (31st March 2012) and tickets are still available online and in shops around the Shire. All money raised from the festival will go towards the Northern Rivers branch of Maternity Coalition to continue its work in helping improve women's access to the birthing services they want and to the Rhodanthe Lipsett Trust that provides funds for indigenous women to study midwifery.
See you there!