We are recognised as LGBTQI cross-arts festival over 12 years
What is GFEST?
GFEST is an annual LGBTQI+ arts festival. Taking place in the UK during November each year, GFEST is run by Wise Thoughts, a charity based in Haringey in north London. See the previous GFESTs programme details from 2007 onwards here.
As a festival, we curate and promote a programme of LGBTQI+ arts events, including dance, music, drag, film screenings, art exhibitions, debates, readings, comedy, and talks.GFEST events value and promote diverse talent from diverse art forms and promote artistic excellence. Celebrating diversity continues to ensure LGBTQI+ equal rights and reduces possible discrimination. GFEST ethos is to develop cultural and social equality for and amongst diverse LGBTQI+ people from all age groups including people from different religious or/and cultural backgrounds. The festival supports individual creative abilities and participation in society.
GFEST launched in November 2007 at City Hall and grew pretty quickly showcasing works of over a thousand of artists, filmmakers and practitioners over 12 years. The next three annual launch events (2008 to 2010) were held in the UK parliament, and received cross-party support. It has also enjoyed the backing of all three Mayors of London as well as various Cultural Secretaries, ministers, celebrities, and MPs. David Cameron also sent a message of support when he was the Prime Minister.
GFEST has its roots in the ‘Gaywise’ initiative, which ran from 2002 to 2007. For this, we organised bi-annual LGBT+ cross-arts workshops and residencies programme (some residencies lasting up to 10 weeks). At the end of each residency, we organised ‘sharing events’ or showcases. Several artists approached us for this, and it eventually grew into a fully-fledged festival.
We have since held events in venues including Museum of London, Tate Modern, National Gallery, the RSA, V&A, Rich Mix, University Arts London (UAL) and dozens more. Venue, sponsors, and community partners including Stonewall, UAL, University of Roehampton, BBC Film Network, K&L Gates, Magnum (Unilever), UBS, and NBC Universal supported the festival amongst several other organisations.
GFEST – Gaywise FESTival was the first LGBT art festival to have the launch receptions in the UK Parliament over the three years (2008 to 2010) with a cross-party support. GFEST has received support from a number of eminent people. Please check for messages of support page.
GFEST artistic director: Niranjan Kamatkar