Bearded woman to appear at festival

By Sam Acourt in Arts

The world’s first Body Acceptance Festival will be “wonderful” for Totnes and even send the town on the road to becoming recognised as a “town of compassion”, councillors have been told.

It will also bring lots of money-spending visitors to the town, they were also told.

A weekend of speakers and workshops, taking on issues of body weight, size, gender, age, sexuality, disability and colour, will be on offer in the town as past of the world’s first festival of Body Acceptance.

Organised by Totnes body acceptance activist and former midwife Dinah Gibbons, the festival is planned to take place over the weekend October 14 and 15 at St Mary’s Church and various other venues in the town.

Last week, Totnes Town Council gave its backing to the festival project, along with its permission to use the town crest as part of its marketing campaign.

Cllr Andy Simms said the town should be “appreciative” of the fact that it will host a world first and added: “If we can show people that it is not all about vanity and how you should look then we should.

“It is a wonderful thing for Totnes to support.”

Cllr Judy Westacott added: “People will come into the town and people are going to spend money here. I think that it is an exceptionally good idea.”

And Cllr Jacqi Hodgson said it could be a way of getting Totnes recognised as a “town of compassion”.

Speakers at the two days of events will include 25-year-old Harnaam Kaur who holds the world record for being the youngest woman with a full beard.

Another speaker will be anorexia survivor and body positive blogger Bodypos­i- ­panda.

Organisers have also invited cross-dressing artist Grayson Perry to take part.

They say the festival will address issue about weight, size, age, gender, sexuality, disability and colour, with a core event at St Mary’s Church on the Friday and satellite events, including workshops, art exhibitions and music events, at various other venues.

Cllr Kate Sermon explained that the organisers were not asking for cash support from the council but merely for the council’s “endorsement”.

She added: “I think that it will be really great for the young people of the town.”

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