In the south of Denmark, on the Island of Aeroe, four volunteers are finalizing plans for the very first ‘Aeroe Rainbow Family festival’, a festival for rainbow families from all across Europe.
The annual festival, which this year takes place from the 19th to the 25th of August, aims at providing the opportunity for rainbow families to have a good family holiday in a very safe environment, and to celebrate their families exactly as they are. An offer that does not exist elsewhere, even though we live in a world where LGBTQ+ rights sometimes seem to be going the wrong way as families experience prejudice and reservations in their daily lives and on holiday.
There are many reasons for this festival to take place on Aeroe. The island in the Danish archipelago already offers a string of lovely holiday activities for grown-ups and children. And with its small size and free busses, it’s easy to move around the island. But more importantly, the island is known for is very welcoming local population who love to greet and chat with visitors. It is the norm to meet the individual without preconceptions and with genuine interest. A person’s sexuality is no more interesting than the color of their hair.
The festival is arranged so that families can create a program that suits them. There are activities for all age groups and every day there are “hygge-spots” where one can meet up with other rainbow families. It is precisely this contact with other families like one’s own, families that do not fit within the confines of the hetero-normative nuclear mold, that is an important theme for the festival.
“It’s especially important for children to be able to see other families like their own” says Lorraine Hayles, foreperson and initiator of Aeroe Rainbow Family Festival.
Even though it is a family festival, there are also activities that are only for adults. In the evenings, there will be dedicated “hangouts” in the island’s cozy bars and a club night at the historical dance salon.
”Many rainbow families are not bound up around a romantic relationship. So often, there may be one or more adults in a family that can go out in the evening while another parent takes care of the children, without anyone being miffed because of it,” says Lorraine Hayles
For the same reason, there is no collective accommodation for the festival. Some families may not live together or may have different wishes for accommodation. Aeroe offers everything from primitive camping, cozy cabins to holiday homes and hotels.
The festival has agreements with many of the island’s accommodations and business owners, and the hope is that the participants will use the places that support the festival economically.
The island of Aeroe supports the rainbow festival.
The churches on Aeroe were some of the first to get on board and will hold two special ‘rainbow worship services’ during the festival. Martin Møller Nielsen, one of the volunteers behind the festival, is married to vicar Regnar Møller Nielsen, and the couple will open the Marstal vicarage all week for anyone who wants to talk about gender, sexuality and faith.
Aeroe Municipality has provided financial support for preparations, and the island’s businesses are very positive.
“We meet enormous goodwill from all over the island. Many are curious about what LGBTQ+ means, once that’s in place, they ask how they can help ensure that participants have a good experience on Aeroe. So we spend time explaining and we have a lot of good conversations about, among other things, gender and family patterns, “says Lorraine Hayles.
The hope is that between 300-500 people from all over Europe will participate when the festival is launched at Søby Stadium on Aeroe on the 19th of August 2018.
The attentive reader may notice that the festival starts the day after Copenhagen Pride, the idea being that foreign guests can combine the two events. Organizers are working on arranging buses directly from Copenhagen to Aeroe on Sunday the 19th.
The main language of the festival is English.
For more info and ticket sales visit the Aeroe Rainbow Family Festival at www.rainbowfamilyfestival.com or on Facebook ‘Aeroe Rainbow Family Festival’.
Aeroe Rainbow Family Festival from August 19-25, 2018
Activities for all age groups
The festival language is English
500 tickets on sale
Tickets sales on www.rainbowfamilyfestival.com
Ticket prices: Children 0-18 years 67€, Adults 135€
There will be direct busses from Copenhagen to Aeroe
Tickets do not include accommodation
Contact organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org