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The local government in Sitges, near Barcelona, Spain, has refused a licence for a lesbian event, saying that ‘there are too many gay events in Sitges and there is no room for another one.’
OlaGirls started working with the local government in January 2013, and it was added to the local tourist service’s event calendar. Despite having begun making arrangements to book DJs and venues, and having been advised that everything was on track, a meeting to finalise the licensing process was only offered in late February. A spokesperson for OlaGirls says: ‘After multiple attempts in February to contact Ignasi Garrigó, the Tourism & Beach Councilman, we were informed by phone that Sitges would not grant the beach permits.
‘Garrigó suggested that OlaGirls host the event the same weekend as gay pride, a date we had already declined because Gay Pride Sitges is aimed at and primarily attracts men, leaving little, if any room, for women.’
The event had advertised itself as ‘an exciting cocktail of sun, sea, and beach in Sitges, Barcelona’, with more than 2,000 women expected to come from across the world for three days of parties, concerts and beach activities. The organisers set it up after being disappointed by supposedly gay events that attract almost exclusively men.
They have decided to offer a one-day event this year, and hold the full three-day event in 2015 – which may be Sitges, or may be somewhere more supportive.
‘OlaGirls is saddened that the Sitges local government has come 180 degrees in their original support and despite the revenue the gay male population provides, is not interested in opening the town to the lesbian community as well.’
We were not able to reach anyone from Sitges local government for comment.
Meanwhile, the Ella Festival is set for four days of female fun in Mallorca. The September festival aims to bring ‘DJs, live music, arts and culture’ with a lesbian flavour to the island.
Kristin Hansen, managing director of Hansen&Partner and of the ELLA Festival, says: ‘We realised that Mallorca was the ideal place to create a lesbian festival where thousands of women from all over the world could meet and share together their interests for music, art, culture, sports, nature and party, and could not understand the lack of quality leisure offer in the lesbian world.
‘Many years of LGBT-related events, experiences and international contacts fostered what was to become ELLA International Lesbian Festival.’
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