Katherine Jordan and Tiana Jacout only met a year ago, but two days later, a festival was born. We met with Tiana to ask how on earth this happened.
How DID you two meet?
Free Tantra! A friend of mine, a great tantra teacher, had been trying to come and teach in England for years. Last year he rang me up and said he was coming, and that some woman called Katherine had set it all up and would I please come. I met Katherine at the door and we clicked, in that big wide-open heart way.
So how do you go from Tantra to throwing an all-Woman Festival?
It came from our instant love of one another, that led to conversations about how we, as a global sisterhood are so fractured, so competitive. That we women flow so differently to the way society is constructed, and that leads to such an imbalance. We had both traced back almost all the world’s problems to that. Climate Change, the poverty gap, the pharmaceutical drug crisis: they could all be solved if we as women not only recognised our strength and wisdom, but stood up for ourselves, each other and the Earth. Bringing together our skills and experience to create this was amazing. Katherine has been running women’s work and events for 20 years, and I come from such a crazy diverse background, from running a community centre in a refugee camp to an acupuncture clinic in India, we knew together we could build something wonderful.
There is infinite untapped potential in all of us, we can all feel it stirring at the moment: the women’s marches, the Me Too movement…it’s happening all around us, and we wanted to make a space where every woman could not only explore who she was as we shrug off years of internalised oppression, but to learn from each other, and grow a network of wild and empowered women!
That’s no mean feat! What’s happening at Woman Fest that engenders that kind of transformation?
Every woman coming! The gathering of women is an ancient thing. We would come together to share songs, craft, wisdom, art, to heal. We would gather to strengthen our bonds to each other and the Earth. Everyone left more knowledgeable and more empowered, it’s why we’ve taken the principle of Radical Participation to the Heart of Woman Fest.
What’s Radical Participation?
It’s a principle that I’ve brought back from Burning Man. It simply turns the festival concept on its head by asking everyone coming to share their gifts. The money for the ticket allows the gathering to happen, but the festival is made by everyone’s contributions. We believe every woman is brilliant, and we want to give her a platform to step into that. Even if it’s terrifying, if everyone’s doing it then we’re looking at a group of women all in their power and vulnerability, that’s amazing! Radical Participation stops you asking what you can take from the festival, and instead you start asking what you can give to your community. It’s a principle that can be applied in life outside of festivals too. Imagine the abundance if everyone began to think like that!
So, what can people expect at Woman Fest?
Haha! We’re not even sure……the line-up builds every time someone buys a ticket and wants to add themselves to it. We’ve already got an amazing bunch of women offering things, from Yoni-Steams to Bender making, neuroscience and business to Earth Dances; I’d say expect the unexpected!
It says you’re a community festival, what does that mean?
It means we come with the intention of building and solidifying community. Everyone comes and helps prep in the kitchen once, and gets to put their love and energy into the food, or they tend the fire. The Spa, hot tubs and sauna are all free and available to everyone, as well as the whole festival being fully catered in a big marquee, with all the food as local and organic as possible. Any opportunity for us to come together is seized! It comes back to input again, that we’re all here for one another and the more we are, the greater the synergy.
Lastly, with all these lofty ideals, what’s the vision of Woman Fest?
A more sustainable, fairer, connected world. When we are all showing-up, for ourselves and for our planet, we are intrinsically linked with the healing of the earth: we can do our bit, in our corner of the world, for the good of everyone. That being said, we can feel that yearning for the sisterhood, it’s also the chance to shamelessly and outrageously celebrate everything Woman!
16th-19thAugust. Frome, Somerset.
Builder, yogi, acupuncturist, artist, activist, tree lover, troublemaker, Tiana spent her early twenties in an ashram in the Himalayas before returning to train as a five-element acupuncturist. This took her to starting a free clinic in the Calais “jungle” refugee camp for a year till its demolition. After a stint at Standing Rock, She can currently be found in her little hut in the woods somewhere outside Bristol, plotting paradigm shifting events and dancing a lot.