A Derbyshire local, Colin McDougall filed a complaint with the licensing committee raising issues about how the weekend-long festival, Femme Fest, could have a cumulative impact on the area. These concerns stem from the disruption caused by Y Not; an annual festival, held in the same area which attracts close to 20,000 attendees. He told the committee hearing on Tuesday,
We don’t want another festival of up to 5,000 people playing music outdoors until 2am in the morning. We think that is a public nuisance.
But, Fiona-Lisa Grant, who is setting up the festival says she is expecting between 500 and 1,000 to show. She also described as unfair, the comparison of her event to Y Not which is established and attracts more people.
You have to consider the percentage of LGBTQ people in the UK is only two per cent, so we are just never going to get those numbers. I need 500, 1,000 would be great and 1,500 would be incredible.
Conditions for the approval
The licensing committee gave the green light for the event to take place in September this year but subsequently in June to correspond with Pride month. It has also capped the initial maximum capacity of the event at 2,000 with the possibility of that number increasing in later years.
Councillors on the committee have instructed that some of the requested hours be scaled back especially on Sunday night and Monday morning to not cause any undue disruptions to residents.
The sale of alcohol on the Sunday night of the event must stop at midnight, with festival organisers expected to respect all relevant COVID-19 protocols.
Why only women?
The festival has been marketed online as ‘the hottest lesbian ticket of 2021’ and is strictly for ‘lesbian, bi, transgender and queer women.’ Some people have questioned why the event isn’t open to the general public or to all members of the LGBT community. A spokesperson had this to say about these concerns:
There are approximately 240 festivals in the UK that are open for any gender to attend. FemmeFest is the only music/dance festival that will provide a safe and secure space where lesbian, bi, transgender and queer women can meet like minded women and enjoy a weekend of music within a comfortable environment.