Festival finds a new home
Seven Sisters Festival was held in the region at the weekend, with women travelling from across the country for a weekend of camping, workshops and new experiences.
Organiser Lauren Woodman started the women-only festival 10 years ago at just 23 years old after attending a women’s circle that had a profound impact on her.
A trained osteopath, she wanted to create a space where women could expand their interests and gain new tools and resources.
The event has grown from 350 women at the event’s inception to 3000 women this year, including 1000 volunteers and contributors.
Ms Woodman said the drug and alcohol-free event provided opportunities for deep learning and introspection.
“Some women come for some fun, to dance, to hang out with their girlfriends, others come for a deeper introspection and time to reflect on life and where they are and what they are wanting. I think everybody has a very unique experience,” she said.
“Unlike a lot of festivals where people go to lose themselves, people come here to find themselves.”
The festival caters to all ages, from teenagers to grandmothers, and is particularly popular among mothers.
Many women who attend the festival come alone. There is a solo campground and workshops to meet others, connect and make new friends.
Over the four-day, three-night festival, more than 200 workshops are run on different topics, with 11 different offerings at any given time.
They include a healing haven, divination space, chanting workshops, talks on parenting or relationships, craft, dance classes and a silent disco.
There are also 80 market stalls were women have a chance to sell their creations or purchase items from other like-minded women.
With such a large offering, a great deal of preparation goes into the event.
The organisation of permits, infrastructure and the logistics of a large volume of festival goers, volunteers and presenters mean Ms Woodman is busy all year round.
Despite the hard work, she is committed to her long-term vision of providing a fun, safe place for women to explore and grow.
“It’s purposeful work. It’s nice to see the impact it has on the community and the women that attend,” she said.
As we walk around the festival it is clear how much gratitude the festival goers have for Ms Woodman as many women call out, come up to hug her and tell her how the festival has helped them.
This year marked the first time the festival was held at Ms Woodman’s own private property about 15 minutes outside of Seymour, which she hopes to make the permanent home of the event.
“There is a lot of benefits to being able to
build your own gardens and build a site for purpose,” she said.
Ms Woodman has put a considerable amount of work into the property, planting 3500 trees and landscaping a lake especially for the festival.
“The area is just beautiful. We want to really highlight the region. So many women have come here and said the area is just gorgeous, it’s a reason for people to come,” she said.
“I think it would be very good for the area … it will have a bit more of a reputation for women’s health and wellbeing.”