Sappho Women in Greece: A Lesvos Festival By and For Women

Sappho Women in Greece: A Lesvos Festival By and For Women

In September every year the women of Eressos on Lesvos host an international festival. The festival is called Sappho Women - International Eressos Women’s Festival and during the two weeks the festival is on, they are hosting a variety of workshops, art exhibitions, dance classes, women only walks, sunset cruises and parties for women by women.

The festival is drawing thousands of lesbians, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning women from all over the world to the laid-back event and all women are welcom regardless of their race, age, interest or sexuality.

 

Why the festival was located to Eressos

As Eressos is the birthplace of Sappho, the Greek female poet who wrote about her love for women, the village has attracted and welcomed lesbians since the 50s. It has a very relaxed and alternative vibe and is known to have a very creative, liberal and open minded community. 

The first Sappho Women festival was hosted in 2000 and since the first years the festival has grown bigger and with more variety than the first years.  Thousands of visitors makes the two september weeks as one of the most busy periodes of the summer season.

 

Join the festival

If you want to join the festival, it is easy to travel to Lesvos and Eressos. You can reach Lesvos by plane or boat and there are frequently public busses from the bus station of Mytilene to Eressos. If you travel as a group you can also hire a minibus with a driver, take a taxi, or just get a rental car. That way you also have the opportunity to explore other parts of Lesvos while you are there. You can easily buy your festival ticket online but remember to book your accommodation early as the number of hotel rooms are limited and the number of participants are high.

 

If you are looking for other opportunities than just attending the event, the organizers are always looking for people who wants to be involved in the event in different ways, so if you are an artist, DJ, performer or have other creative skills you would like to share, the organizers are interested in you getting in touch. Also, a festival of this proportion needs a certain number of volunteers to do some of the work, so if you are in for getting your hands dirty, sign up for some volunteer work and be a part of the community. The festival is also a great place to be for bloggers, writers and photograpers to help document the event and spread the word about the event. 

 

The daily summer event Skala Women's Rock Club

Even though the festival is only active during two hectic september weeks, the woman community of Eressos is very present, active and strongly visible in the village during the summer months from april to october.  In the summer season women of all kinds can attende the Skala Women’s Rock Club which is an open and free daily event where a group of women swim to the island called The Rock situated approximatly 400 meters from the beach. 

The idea is not only the exersise and swim itself but to be supportive and encouraging to each other and help motivate women to believe in them selves. The group meets every morning between 10 and 10.30 at Zorba the Buddha, a beach bar just in front of The Rock, to prerare for the swim of the day. All women, no matter sexual orientation or age is welcome to join.

To maintain safety and security for the swimmers the group is also accompanied by kayaks and everybody can borrow free snorkelling equipment from the organizers.  Each group can vary between a few swimmers to up till 40-50 and approximatly 2500 women attended the Scala Woman’s Rock Club swims in 2016, successfully swimming the 400 meters to and 400 meters back from The Rock. After each swim the new swimmers of the season is given a certificate in a ceremony outside the beachbar, being included in the Skala Women’s Rock Club.

 

Travel tip shared by Janicke for Travel Dudes.

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