If you were one of the lucky ticket-holders to the Women’s Trad Festival (WTF) last year, you’ll probably know that tickets sold out in 4 minutes. Yes, you read that right.
We caught up with 3 of the the organisers – Charlie, Hetty and Ellie – to find out why it’s such a big deal, and why you should want to be there this August.
Why do you think WTF was/is so successful?
It’s creating a space for women to meet other women and do something really cool. Something that otherwise they might be too scared to do. Trad can be scary, leading can be scary, and it’s currently a male-dominated area. But by creating a space where women can meet other women who are in the same position as them, nervous but excited to learn trad, learn how to lead, and also meet some really strong, psyched women who have been leading trad for years, or who have made their careers out of teaching others to climb, it’s really inspiring and shows them what is possible!
Because we welcome everyone with open arms – it doesn’t matter where you come from why you want to climb all we care is that you want to climb.
Are you making any changes this year? Any surprises in store?!
Better toilets! 😂 more tickets! Lots of exciting things to come…
What are the main challenges to organising such an event?
Getting 300 women to send you all of the forms they need to send you 😂 coordinating such a large group of people, making sure you haven’t forgotten to do anything, getting everything in place to make sure the weekend will be as exciting as everyone hopes it will be!
To add to Charlie’s answer: we all have full times jobs or study, and Festival organising takes up a surprising amount of time! Also part of the challenge is reigning in all our ideas – there is so much we want to do!
What do you say to beginners at the festival dealing with fear when climbing?
It’s okay, it’s normal. We have all been the same. I have been climbing for 5+ years and I still get scared leading! It’s all about figuring out how to overcome that fear, and learning what causes it. Taking it one step at a time and not pushing it too quickly. Chatting to others who feel the same as you and sharing stories. And getting psyched to challenge that fear!
Everyone learns at different speeds so just because one ‘new leader’ has overcome their fear that doesn’t mean you should have in the same amount of time. Personally – I get really scared but I try and use taking baby steps to turn that into an opportunity to face and tackle my fears head-on.
What is your best memory from last year’s festival?
Walking along Stanage Edge, seeing the dots of yellow and blue all over the crag then looking back and seeing the festival base with its white Marquee showing between the trees. It was at that point I thought crikey – we’ve done it!
Walking along the crags with the Mentors and seeing such excellent, competent and caring instruction from all the leaders, was amazing. Seeing the climbing groups and pairs mingle, give each other encouragement, sit down to lunch together – lots of people who didn’t know each other a day before, laughing, sharing stories and challenging themselves together. It made me feel hopeful for the kind of culture and community being created
here, that can hopefully ripple outwards.
So a real highlight for me was welcoming our first two Leaders, who had originally come as Learners back in 2016. It was inspiring seeing them embrace their new role with such enthusiasm and skill. Real evidence of the mentorship and support that they had recieved being alive in them and now being passsed on..!