the Big Bi Fun Day

This originally appeared in BCN issue 100.

Interview with the Big Bi Fun Day Co-ordinator – Sanji

What is Big Bi Fun Day?
Big Bi Fun Day (BBFD) is a one day (well, technically, one afternoon) UK event where we’ll be organising a space for bisexuals and allies to meet up, relax and socialise with other bisexuals and allies.  It will be held in a family friendly venue and we hope that bisexuals from all over the UK (and anywhere else) will take this opportunity to come along and meet people from different regions, catch up with friends and have a fun day out.

Where did the idea for it come from?
It was prompted after I was feeling organiser burn-out and wondering whether there could be an event for bisexuals which didn’t require a committee of organisers to put their lives on hold,  allowed the attendees to participate more in the organisation but still was inclusive!  It made me think a little more creatively about what the absolute minimum needed would be to make such an event happen.

Initially I was thinking along the lines of a Big Bi Picnic in a park or a family day out type event  where people bring their own packed lunch, something to sit on and games.  What’s developed is in many ways similar to that initial thought.  The space it will be held in isn’t totally public (unlike being in the middle of a park) but affords more safety and security.  Conversely, we won’t have exclusive use of the venue and so there may be other people wandering around, as would happen if it had been a Big Bi Picnic.  The big advantage of not having BBFD in the middle of a park is that if it does rain (it happens sometimes in the UK), then people will have shelter indoors.

Who is it aimed at?
Unlike BiFests which were originally intended to be outreach events aimed at people in specific cities or regions and those who are new to bisexuality, Big Bi Fun Day (BBFD) is not intended to be an outreach event.  It’s aimed at people across the UK who are probably already in the bi community.  This might include people:
– attending regional bi groups who want to meet up with those from other bi groups
– bisexuals with children who often can’t come to full day events because of timing, venue or cost
– who don’t want to meet in pubs or specifically LGBT venues
– who just want to hang out, relax and have fun!

Why did you choose this venue?
There were a number of criteria to think about, these included: cost (low or no cost), location (not far from public transport and car parking), accessibility, child friendly, more than one room for use, some outdoor space and bi friendly.

This venue meets nearly all of those criteria.  It is bi friendly, low cost, within reasonable walking distance from Leicester train station, buses from the train station pass by the venue (and stop too!), there is parking nearby and shops to buy food.  We will have use of 3 indoor rooms, the fenced in grassy area, the kitchen and toilets.  The approach to the building and the downstairs area is accessible by wheelchairs and there are hearing aid loops.  Families often use the venue and they are accustomed to user groups having children in the building.

The main downside is that the upstairs area, whilst it’s accessed by stairs and a stairlift, isn’t accessible for wheelchairs.  I’m still in negotiation with the venue to see if we can work around this so that 100% of the space we can use is accessible.

What do you mean by “family friendly”?
We mean that children and families are welcome.  The venue is fenced and gated with a double lock gate (inside and outside), doesn’t open out onto a main road, has sufficient space for children to play in, and, doesn’t serve alcohol so there are no restrictions on age.  The event itself is designed to be flexible so there won’t be any workshops.  This means parents and guardians don’t need to worry about specific times they need to be in X room, or worry that people won’t want children there.  We want to be clear from the start that children are welcome and we expect any behaviour from adults to be suitable for such an event.

There won’t be a crèche so parents and guardians will be expected to be responsible for their children’s behaviour at all times.  As mentioned earlier, it is a semi-public space and strangers who aren’t part of our community may also need to use other parts of the venue.  So the general advice would be that if you wouldn’t wander off and leave your child alone in the middle of a park, don’t expect to be able to do that at BBFD.

You’ve not mentioned workshops yet.  Will there be workshops?
There won’t be any workshops.  Instead each room will be designated a “Zone” where activities will be grouped together.  For example, one Zone will be for quiet chatting and discussion, another will be for craft activities such as painting, drawing, knitting and another will be for board games and puzzles.  Outdoors will be for more physically energetic activities.  For example, if you want to be able to play a particular game, you would be directed to put it in the games Zone and it will be up to you to bring that game along.  It’s intended to be a semi-structured community event where the attendees bring things with them.

Will people be able to bring their own games and craft things?
Yes!  We actively encourage and want people to bring (and then take them away again!) games, toys and activities they want to share with others.  It’s

a community event where if you want to play Snakes and Ladders, then you bring it along and there’s likely to be someone there who will want a game with you.  The same applies to things like poi, bean bag racing, teddy bear picnics…in fact, the only limits are those of safety, suitability for under 18s and no gambling.

Who’s involved in organising it?
Sanji, Natalya and Katy.

What will it cost and will people need to register?
We aren’t asking people to register but if they want to find out who else is coming and let others know they are coming, there will be a space on the BBFD Wiki.
There is no entrance fee.  Instead we will be asking for donations on the day to cover the cost of the venue, the drinks and craft materials.  We are expecting the total cost for the day to come to approximately £100.

What are you hoping for on Big Bi Fun Day?
I am hoping that plenty of people will turn up, participate, relax, share activities with one another, chat, play games, socialise and have a fun and safe day.  Without attendees, Big Bi Fun Day won’t happen.  If you like the sound of it, then please come along.

Where do I go to find out more information?
Your first port of call should be the Wiki.  http://bigbifunday.tk/  More information will appear there over the next few weeks.  We also have an email address if you want to contact any of us directly: [email protected]