Held before Mother’s Day, Mfest is celebrated by many as an alternative day out with mum.
It’s free and open to all the family with wildlife exhibitions and a bouncy castle as well as special workshops and market stalls targeted at women. Oh, and did we mention the Big Red Tent full of live music?
Held 9 May and running for eight years now, this year’s event in Springbrook State School is focused on the music. And the lineup already includes Felicity Lawless and her trio, all-girl Brisbane band Sista Moon, Maryen Cairns, Susan McCarther and Mickey McIllwain as well as Springbrook locals Sunday Afternoon People.
It might just be me, but organisers seem to have the food just about perfect. They are promising both coffee and ice cream vans. Plus a steak and sausage sizzle. Plus a raw food stall.
Maryen Cairns is the founder of the event and spoke to us about how it has grown over the years – from 2007 when it was attended by about 50 people – mostly women with babies from the Home Midwifery Association.
“We had a small stage under a tree in a paddock right up at the top of Springbrook Road, a sausage sizzle, puppet show, children’s stories, local craft and plant stalls, and live women-led music,” Maryen said.
Since 2012 Mfest has been held in the grounds of Springbrook State School and Maryen says they have 300 – 400 people attending with live music being performed in a Big Red Tent. Maryen says it’s a bit of a community ritual now.
“Mfest really starts on the Friday afternoon once school is out, when lots of volunteers congregate to put the Big Red Tent up. It’s quite a ceremonial community occasion”, she said.
And as usual with events like this, there’s a large group of people who make it happen. Maryen says the Springbrook Mountain Community Association has taken Mfest under its wing and that other key sponsors include Councillor Glenn Tozer and Queensland MP Ros Bates.
“Mfest is free because we believe everyone in the community should have the opportunity to attend and share in an event like this,” she said. And it’s not just the local community that benefits – the event this year will raise funds for The Mothers Milk Bank and Birthing Kits Foundation Australia.
Maryen says it’s important for women to connect and feel celebrated for being who they are.
“Lots of women attend Mfest to hang out with their women friends, exploring stalls, sharing delicious munchies from the raw food stall and listening to some of the great music,” she said.
Some of the workshops which will take place this year include Meditation and Mandalas and Women’s Sacred Essence Circle.
“This type of workshop is instrumental in helping women connect,” Maryen said.
“And all of our live music is women-led. Mfest is a platform to highlight Women’s Art.”
But Maryen is quick to say that men are welcome too.
“Half of our volunteers are men, and I’d say a third of all visitors to Mfest are male,” she said. “Mfest is really about loving women and valuing what they have to give the world.”
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Mfest | Saturday 9 May
Springbrook State School