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UK’s first Wellness Festival designed for queer, questioning and curious women

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THIS June sees the launch of Out & Wild, the UK’s first Wellness Festival designed for queer, questioning and curious women and those who are non-binary. This new and innovative event, celebrating an often-under-represented part of the LGBTQIA community, is being launched to mark the 50th year of Pride.

Out & Wild has been designed to be an inclusive, safe and supportive space to explore new activities and experiences and embrace nature. While the primary focus is on queer, questioning and curious women, the event actively welcomes supportive allies.

Out & Wild features a range of wellness and experience -themed activities including:

● Entertainment, food and drink (music, comedy, DJs, food, bars and stalls)

● Wellness and workouts (including yoga, tai chi, pilates, dance, breath-work, ice baths, massages, meditation and mindfulness)

● Sport (including 5 aside football, guided hikes and runs)

● Out in the water (including wild swimming, paddle boarding)

● Spoken Word and Interactive workshops (including book readings, poetry, foraging, outdoor pursuits, nature, sustainability, crafts)

Polly Shute, co-founder of Out and About LGBTQ, who will be hosting the festival explained: “We are delighted to host the first ever Out & Wild Festival in a stunning location in Wales overlooking the River Cleddau. Our three-day event is packed with experiences, and has been designed specifically to facilitate shared connections, something which our community is crying out for in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

“The response we have had to date has been incredible! From the quality of the sponsors and partners coming on board to the range of experiences taking place, and the talent that will be performing – not to mention the support we have had from the Welsh Government, which has awarded us a three-year grant as part of its commitment to being the most LGBTQ friendly nation in Europe. We are also proud to have Pink News Group on board as our media partner, the world’s most read and watched LGBTQ publication.

“We are excited to be able to offer three days packed with amazing experiences, all designed by and for queer, questioning and curious women and those that are non-binary.”

The event will be taking place across the three days and nights in Lawrenny, Pembrokeshire, from 10-13th June 2022. First release of early bird tickets have sold out. Second release of early bird tickets are now available to purchase from £120 (excluding booking fee), for three nights from the Out and Wild website.

Key acts and experiences

Wellness and Workouts

Out & Wild is delighted to welcome Luisa Bradshaw White, ex Bad Girls, Holby City, This Life and EastEnders actress who runs LuluOm. Luisa, who trained as a Breathworker in 2002 who will be delivering sessions focused around Soul Breathing.

She explained: “Since my early 20’s I have been on a path of self-discovery taking me all over the world. Breathing at festivals alongside hundreds of other heart-led people in Australia, in waterfalls in Bali and ice baths in the UK!

“I have studied with pioneers of Breathwork including Christabel Zamor, Sondra Ray, Foster Perry and Diana Roberts. As well as leading Breathwork retreats and workshops in the UK and Morocco and working with private clients. I am so excited to be sharing Soul breathing with you. It is hugely transformational, and the breath is powerful medicine”

Music and Comedy

Out & Wild are committed to supporting new and existing female and non-binary talent and are delighted to be partnering with The F-List Directory of UK Female+ Musicians.

We are also keen to promote Welsh talent. We will be announcing acts in the next few weeks.

Vick Bain, Founder of the F List explained: “We are super excited to be working with Polly and the team at Out and Wild, which is a festival set up with exactly the same values we hold; equality, inclusion, respect, and fun! With most festival stages women are in the extreme minority, if present at all, Out and Wild is such a fantastic idea – women rocking on the stages and women rocking in the fields; brilliant!”

Every night DJs will lead silent sets so attendees can dance in the moonlight, overlooking the Cleddau River. Out & Wild is also collaborating with the legendary Club Kali and Mint Events.

Spoken word and Workshops

Zaina Arafat – Award winning LGBTQ Arab- American fiction and non-fiction writer. Author of novel, You Exist Too Much, which won a 2021 Lambda Literary Award.

Annie Garthwaite – Acclaimed historical writer, her book, Cecily, was lauded by Waterstones as best book of 2021.

Workshops will be focused around the core festival areas and also include sessions on sexual health and sexual empowerment.

Sport

Our sport area will be curated by the Director of Pride Sports, Lou Englefield and will include a 5 aside football pitch and tasters of different sports for attendees to sample. There will also be guided walks, runs and hikes.

Lou Englefield explained: “I’m delighted to be an Ambassador for the Out & Wild Festival. During my time as Chair of Pride Cymru one of our pillars of ambition was to showcase Wales to the world. Promoting our creative talents and highlighting our amazing Welsh products, whilst supporting local businesses and the economy to thrive. I am thrilled to see Polly and her team adopt the same ethos and enthusiasm for Wales and join us all in our ambition to make Wales the safest and most inclusive country in Europe for our Queer communities.”

Out in the Water

Laura Owen Sanderson is a cold water swimmer and the founder and director of WE SWIM WILD who, with the support of a grant from HydroFlask’s Park for All Campaign, will be delivering water safety sessions, wild swims, candle lit starry night swims and environmental talks at Out & Wild. Laura is a firm believer in using adventure activism to highlight issues in the environment.

This year Laura is swimming just under 1000km back to back across all of the U.K National Parks to test for micro plastic pollution. Laura recently won Wales Business Woman of the year for her work at We Swim Wild.

Bars and Foods

Out & Wild will be working with local drinks and food brands to make sure festival goers experience a real taste of Wales. We will have a full bar and pop-up food stalls.

Out & Wild are also delighted to be supported by Club Soda, who will be manning an alcohol-free bar and delivering mindful drinking sessions – to ensure we cater to all tastes.

The venue

Out & Wild will be hosted at Lawrenny in Pembrokeshire, situated at the edge of Pembrokeshire National Park on the site of a former Guardian newspaper’s top 5 Adventure and Wellbeing Festival, The Big Retreat. The main site, which once featured a 19th century castle, overlooks the River Cleddau and was the birthplace of the ‘National Parks’ concept.

Our ethos

Out & Wild has been designed for queer, questioning and curious women and those who are non-binary. It is a festival of experiences, with dozens of activities taking place across the three days and nights covering music, comedy, wellness, sport, wild swimming, spoken word, poetry, and interactive workshops.

Out & Wild is proud to support both existing and new female and non-binary artists and acts from across the UK who are often under-represented at festivals. We are working with The F-List Directory of UK Female+ Musicians to ensure we secure only the very best talent.

Key messages

● Out & Wild is the UK’s first Wellness Festival designed by and for queer, questioning and curious women and those who are non-binary.

● While the primary focus is on queer, questioning and curious women, we actively welcome supportive allies.

● Out & Wild is a festival of experiences designed to facilitate the creation of meaningful connections among an often-under-represented part of the LGBTQIA community.

● Out & Wild is proud to be able to provide a platform to queer female and non-binary talent – as well as welcoming local Welsh performers.

● Out & Wild is proud to have been awarded a three-year grant by the Welsh Government as part of its commitment to being the most LGBTQ friendly nation in Europe.

Spokespeople

Co-Founder – Polly Shute

Polly has spent the last 10 years working on LGBTQI events, including being on the Board of Pride in London up until 2018. A former Marketing and Fundraising Director, working within the commercial and not for profit sector, Polly is a Partnership and Inclusion Consultant and has worked with clients such as The Royal Society of Medicine, Women in Sport, Brentford FC and is part of the EW Group – Full-Service Diversity and Inclusion Consultancy (theewgroup.com).

Polly is a Chartered Institute of Fundraising award winner and was recognised as a leader in Profit for Purpose at the 2019 UK Sponsorship Awards. As part of her D&I focus, Polly was recognised in top 20 LGBT+ leaders list by Outstanding and The FT in 2018 and was on the Pride Power List in association with the Guardian in 2019 and 2020. Polly sits on a number of inclusion committees and is a Director of Trans in the City.

Co-Founder – Becky French

Becky is a veteran of the Royal Air Force, serving abroad on numerous occasions. Upon leaving the service she transitioned into the private security sector where she specialised in operational and event security. Becky’s work involved planning the security architecture for teams in international high-risk countries as well as planning the security for internationally recognised sporting events. Becky is a keen sports woman, having played golf for both the Royal Air Force and Combined Services teams. She also played a lot of squash and rugby during her time in the RAF.

Wellness Curators – Rachael Capper and Isabella Beni

Wellbeing gurus Rach and Issy are behind LGBT FIT, a judgement-free, safe space where people can log on, work out and be part of a like-minded community. Both have been on their own separate journeys of self-acceptance, self-discovery and healing. Together, they have over 16 years’ experience in helping people with all thing’s fitness, nutrition and mindset.

Music and Comedy Curator – Sarah Maslen

Sarah lives on the beach in Llanelli, Southwest Wales. She is part of the Senior Leadership Team of YMCA Swansea and the Deputy CEO of LGBT+ Cymru Helpline. She is a solo Mum to three young children, and they spend as much of their time outside – and wild – as possible, with their ponies exploring and having adventures. She is also a director of Trans in the City. Sarah is passionate about inclusion and empowering others.

Taster of Sport Curator – Lou Englefield

Lou is a founding Director of Pride Sports, a UK LGBTIQ+ sports development and inclusion organisation. Lou has been a leading voice on LGBTIQ+ inclusion in sport & physical activity for more than 10 years. She has directed the international Football v Homophobia campaign since 2012, is Vice Chair of the FARE Network and is Co-Chair of Pride House International. Lou presents and speaks on issues of LGBTIQ+ inclusion in sport and physical activity globally and has ensured that Pride Sports has become a leading authority in the field, at the forefront of insight, policy, and practice.

Spoken Word Curators – Zoë Berryman and Nicola Cottington

Zoë is passionate about all things literary. She works for a charity providing supported learning and activities for vulnerable adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues, something she is very passionate about. She is also the co-chair of the DIVA Book Club together with Nicola Cottington. Nicola is a Chief Operating Officer at an NHS Trust in the East of England.

She also runs the Cancer Survivors Book Club.

Ambassadors

● Bobbi Pickard – CEO of Trans in the City

● Lu Thomas – Ex Chair of Pride Cymru

● Rachel Ashe – Founder Mental Health Swims

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Community

Popular physical activity game Beat the Street gets underway in Llanelli

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BEAT THE STREET is a free, interactive game that encourages people of all ages to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives by rewarding teams with points and prizes the further they walk, cycle and roll.

There are prizes for the teams that travel the furthest with vouchers for books and sports equipment. There is a total points leader board and an average leader board so opportunities for teams of all sizes to win.

Beeping and flashing sensors called Beat Boxes will be placed on lampposts around the area for the duration of the six-week game. Primary school pupils will be provided with a player pack containing a map and a card for the child and an accompanying adult. The wider community can pick up a contactless card from a distribution point listed at www.beatthestreet.me/llanelli

Players then travel between the contactless Beat Boxes scoring points with their cards as they go. The further players travel, the more points they score for their community or school team. Each week is themed with different activities to help participants get the most out of their Beat the Street experience.

Beat the Street Llanelli is provided by Intelligent Health, commissioned by Carmarthenshire County Council and is supported by Sport Wales.

Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure Culture and Tourism Cllr Gareth John, said: “We are delighted to bring this innovative and compelling game to Llanelli and we can’t wait to see how far everyone is able to walk, run, cycle and scoot. The game brings a competitive element to physical activity, but more than that, unites communities, helps people get to know their local area, reduces carbon emissions and improves both physical activity and mental health.”

More information is available at the Llanelli | Beat the Street website and on social media @BTSLlanelli

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Entertainment

Cruise Culture returns to Carmarthen Showground 

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(Credit - CruiseCulture)

WALES’ biggest modified and performance car show is returning to the Carmarthen Showground on August Bank Holiday Sunday 28

The show has now been running since 2014 and after a two-year break due to Covid-19 they are finally back!

There is a huge variety of cars on display from Modified, Performance, Supercars, Old School Classics, Vintage & American Cars. 

Growing year on year, Cruise Culture now welcomes over 40 club stands, so there is something for the whole family to enjoy. 

There will also be a funfair and children’s attractions at the show with a variety of food stalls selling burgers, pizzas, noodles, sweet stalls and ice cream vans.

There is an indoor section with highly modified cars on display and an outdoor show and shine area.

Mid and West Wales Fire Service will be doing an RTC Demo, along with a wide variety of their road safety vehicles and fire engines to look at.

Expect an action packed day with:

– Ultimate Indoor Show Hall

– Outdoor Show and Shine

– A huge variety of Car Club Stands

– Trade Village (Indoor and Outdoor)

– Main Entertainment Stage with Competitions, DJ’s, Live Music

– Car Competitions

– Funfair/Children’s Attractions

– Team SWG

– Mid & West Wales Fire Service Displays 

The Jamie Squibb Freestyle Motocross Stunt Show will also take place, as the team of riders perform breathtaking jumps and stunts.

 It is a show not to be missed! Jamie has ridden in the Nitro Circus and featured in a recent Top Gear episode for the Eddie Kidd Top Gear Special!

Tickets are just £6 Per Person if you pre book, or £8 Per Person at the gate with under 12’s being free!

You can pre book tickets online at http://www.cruise-swansea.co.uk

This is a show not to be missed and has a great atmosphere and plenty to do throughout the day.

For more information, visit their Facebook page – Cruise Culture, or their Instagram @Cruise_Culture.

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Entertainment

Tywi Valley Open Studios

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Justine Burgess 'West Wales Willows' Photo Credit Dewi Tannatt Lloyd

TYWI VALLEY Open Studios Arts Trail has been held every year since 2013, apart from the last two years, making 2022 its 8th year. 

TVOS was winner of the Carmarthenshire Celebration of Culture Awards 2019.

After a two year break for Covid, the artists and makers are naturally delighted to welcome visitors back to our studios, working as normal. 

Many of the artists live in rural settings and are used to working in isolation, but the closure of galleries and shops has had to lead to major readjustments such as selling online. 

However, time to think has given them opportunities to develop new ideas that normally would have been put on the back burner. 

Visitors will be able to see these developments and the artists will enjoy this welcome company and the chance to talk about their work to interested visitors.

Visitors will be able to see artists at work or join in a workshop with an artistic activity.

As one of the artists says: “I remember as a child entering an artists studio was so exciting, so ‘other’. The feel, the inspiration and being able to see how it all happens was truly Magical and set me forth on a long path of painting and singing.

“In Adulthood, it is still thrilling to see a ‘personal’ space, a place of exploration, a place of work that is rarely shared. Artists love solitude to contemplate and evaluate thoughts, potters in turn develop shapes and forms with textures and glazes in much the same way. 

“A weaver may be discussing with themselves a new way of manipulating, a woodworker how better to enhance the beauty of natural wood, the materials’ colours melded into pure joy. This is why it’s so exciting to visit an ‘artists ‘ studio – it’s where alchemy happens.

“We are fortunate to have within our group very well known artists and makers and some for you to make your own discoveries ..

“Studio visits stay in the memory, there is special atmosphere waiting to be shared.”

Each studio is unique in what it has to offer. Artists will be demonstrating the current pieces on which they are working while some are also offering workshops and activities for visitors. 

Joining one of these workshops can be a good way to relax while learning something new.

There are sculpture workshops ranging from 2 hours to a whole day, drop in pottery activities such as throwing a pot on a wheel or trying Raku, wet felting and willow making, as well as decoupage, collage and glass fusing sessions. 

Taking place in the first week of the school holidays, many activities are suitable for children.

Free brochures with a map are available from shops in Llandeilo and Llandovery and tourist information centres. This can be used to locate which artists to visit. 

There are also suggestions of 5 different coloured routes each of which could be reasonably covered in a day, visiting a selection of studios.

Full details are on the website www.tywivalleyopenstudios.wales 

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