BiFest VI

Manchester goes back to basics for Celebrate Bisexuality Day 2006

The sixth BiFest was a little bit on the “BiFest lite” side, lacking an official evening session.

The decision to go for the date of International Celebrate Bisexuality Day (the 23rd September) was fair enough – it is an obvious date to choose and with BiCon in July was a sensible distance after that. It was also soon enough after Manchester Pride for flyering about BiFest there to be a good draw.

Sadly it meant that BiFest was on the same day that 20,000 delegates arrrived in
Manchester for Labour Party Conference, and a similar number of protestors descended on the city to make their feelings known about the Iraq war, ID cards and sundry other issues. Couple this with the end of Fresher’s week and a gay skinheads convention helping to fill the city’s famous gay village, and the options for an evening venue were rather limited.

Still, the daytime seems to be what most people come to BiFest for, and Manchester had a packed day in a much better suited venue for the day than the last Manchester BiFest had offered.

The formal timetable had workshops on drugs and NUS campaigning alongside the more usual coming out, mythbusting, what’s “bisexuality” anyway, silly games, and a reinvention of the usual bifest so-you-want-to-be-an-activist workshop “10-minute activism for slackers” (see elsewhere this issue).

The less formal programme had the two key staples of BiFests – a badge making machine and a bring-and-share cake stall. There was also bisexual paperdoll making, and plenty of space and sofas to lounge about and chat to friends new and old.

Organiser Jen told BCN, “Something like seventy people came, which was down on the previous Manchester BiFest. That said, the crowd was much more ‘Manchester people’ than the 2005 event, and whereas last time we pulled in favours from across the UK to get people to come and run workshops for us, this time they were mostly run by BiPhoria people – giving a stronger team feeling to the event and hopefully making people feel they can run something more ambitious next year.”

Speaking of next year, the BiPhoria crowd are already trying to work out whether they can run two BiFests in 2007 – watch this space!