Thanks for visiting the Summer House 2014 guest feedback results
All guests, crew and volunters involved in The Summer House 2014 were sent a feedback form, with followup reminders via social media. The data was collated at the end of September and published on October 1st 2014.
Around a quarter of our event's community this year filled out the form. If you haven't yet filled out the form feel free to visit and add your comments. Any new comments after October 1st 2014 will not be added to this results page, but I will see the new submissions.
One of our entrants has been selected at random to win four nights of dining at The Summer House 2015; they will be contacted and if they agree, their name will be shared on our Facebook group.
How the feedback is laid out
Each question that was asked to the guests is shown in bold, with the quantitative results shown as a chart on the left and as percentages on the right.
Where guests have added written feedback, those comments have been compiled under the relevant sections. I have included the vast majority of comments and kept most of them intact as written though have edited a few for clarity. Where multiple guests have written the same comment, in some cases I have indicated this with text like "multiple guests felt that..."
I have tried to strip out any information that might reveal the identity of any guests, so that the process can be as anonymous as possible.
The comments and feedback have been overwhelmingly positive, though I have left most of those statements to the end, so the main body of the survey results contains the constructive criticism.
My comments are written in italics and are preceded with "Tobias responds:"
"The print on the handout timetable was so small it was impossible to read!"
"More info in the printed guides on the workshops for those that don't get up early" (ie in time to get to the morning meeting)
"Timings weren't always clear. I think I missed one or two things. Blackboards were used but could have been better."
"Published times for activities seemed to have gone out of the window towards the end of the day, which made it tricky to find things going on"
"I was going to suggest having a clock near the events boards, as we weren't wearing watches/phones - but such was the properly chilled vibe that it didn't really matter if we missed anything, as it just meant we were doing something else that was wonderful instead! ;)"
"Some way of leaving messages to other guests, I have a bunch of thank-yous to give for people with whom we didn't exchange contacts"
"Audible signal for food & workshops. A gong?"
Tobias responds: Thanks for all this useful feedback. The print on the handout was indeed pretty small - this was about cost savings but next year I'll have to invest in more pages. Adding a bell or a gong to announce the next session would be atmospheric as well as practical - good idea! A clock to show times by the blackboard should be feasible. We can set up a simple pinboard so people can leave messages - would that work? On the subject of timings it's likely that there will always be some degree of change or rescheduling, but we try to keep it to a minimum and workshop hosts are asked to keep to schedule. On Sunday things did indeed go "out of the window" because our programming seemed to be so out of kilter with the weather and the desires of the guests on site! Apologies if that was a disappointment...next year we will schedule things differently for Sunday.
"One of the house owners was driving his car in what seemed like a circle around all the tents, and we felt a bit like being watched at a prison camp by the warden!"
"The location was beautiful, but due to its proximity to the residents, and the regulations placed, it didn't feel very private or discreet. Would have much preferred a less glamorous building which was genuinely in the middle of nowhere, so we could all be our lovely, flowery hippie selves without feeling worried about putting things out of place. Also the site manager (not part of the Summerhouse team I was told) was exceptionally rude, which was a shame."
"A more tucked-away venue would be nice"
"The venue owner shining his truck lights in our faces was impolite"
" I can't even imagine how difficult it is to find a suitable and cooperative venue, just saying lasting year's was better than this year's."
"There are several reasons for marking down the venue, and these were: the large number of restrictions set by the house manager - I personally felt a little anxious at how involved he was, and how opinionated. The public footpath nearby was not ideal"
"I think we could have been better trusted to discreetly pee in bushes at night. Coming from the country, this boundary felt a bit alien."
Tobias responds: While some guests commented to me personally that they preferred this year's venue to the one we used in 2013, it is true that this year's house was not as secluded and had more specific rules. The rule against peeing in bushes comes from neighbours who have complained about that, so I hope everyone can respect it - we do have enough toilets. I can only apologise to those of you who had a bad experience with any member of staff. I suspect their intention is not to be offensive but to protect their property. I will be discussing your feedback with the venue at a later date. As one guest identified, it is difficult finding venues that are willing to permit every aspect of our event, but I continue to explore on an ongoing basis.
"Didn't feel there was one big hanging out getting to know people space, partly I suspect due to poorer weather than last year (reports I was given) and hiding in tents"
"The event overall did the best it could with the space, venues and weather available. The weather isn't negotiable, but the venue wasn't ideal: compared to last year's glorious open vista and central hang-out space, everything was hidden from and around a hedge from everything else. You could be within twenty feet of someone you really wanted to hang out with, and never know."
"The photo studio/silent disco in the marquee didn't quite work as it was too far away from the house. Should have been next door / on the lawn."
"Spread between the marquee and house made the thing feel stretched out/lack of focal point"
"Marquee on Saturday night was underutilised."
"More water taps please"
Tobias responds: Setting up the space this year became a much larger logistics project than in 2012 or 2013. This was the first year that we had outside structures, a generator, lots of power cables, multiple water pipes, a full outdoor lighting coverage. Thanks to the fantastic team who continued adding things (sometimes even driving as far as Suffolk to pick up new kit) during the weekend. With a bit of planning I think we might be able to add one more water tap next year. It is absolutely correct that there wasn't a big hanging out space, other than the marquee, which we added for the purpose of having a large space for the ceremonies and cabaret. We did programme entertainment for the marquee on Saturday night but as most guests went inside the house, the DJs etc ended up playing to no-one! We will look at ways of rebalancing the lack of focal point but it may be a difficult nut to crack.
"It was a complete shambles...not enough food for the people that were there, not enough seats for the tickets sold, the people serving the food had no idea about the food, and the list of names was frequently wrong."
"Banquet dinner, was running late and felt very disorganised"
"When is a Banquet not a banquet? When it’s a canteen. It was a blot (not all bad so maybe a smut) on an otherwise great landscape. I expected generous amounts of food, not mean portions with a sprinkling of parsimony. The serving was workhouse style – ‘you want more!’ was the feeling.It wasn’t cheap and presumably subsidised the event, but I would prefer to pay more for my ticket. £35 for a £7 light lunch is not on. I enjoyed the company, getting together to eat was good. Annoying to have missed the Friday opening ceremony though because the dinner ran late. The banquet felt strangely disconnected from the rest of the event. The location was away from the epicentre. The buying of drinks broke the spell a bit too. I suggest BYO drinks and BYO food for that matter to create a party atmosphere."
Tobias responds: Although we made progress in improving the food this year compared to 2013, the catering was mentioned by quite a few guests as the biggest thing that we got wrong. I apologise to any guest who had a less than satisfactory experience.
To explain the behind-the-scenes stuff: as with 2013, this year we had both our first choice of food truck and our first choice of chef drop out at late notice. The reason why this happens is that the Summer House is not an enticing financial proposition for a food truck or a caterer. Because we have such low numbers of guests, they do not stand to generate much profit. Sadly this problem is exacerbated as more food providers are added, as it dilutes the profitability for each inidvidual.
I have already held an extensive meeting with Tim of Sublime Food (who stepped in at just a few days' notice to build a kitchen and cook the banqueting) and we have started to plan numerous ways in which the quantity of food can be increased to banquet diners while also bringing the service and the atmosphere up to the level you expect. It is not acceptable to me that the dinner should over-run or be considered sub-par so we have already set about planning to raise the standards.
The price of the banqueting is likely to stay the same as unfortunately those are the costs of creating and staffing a decent meal in an outdoor environment with all the equipment, plates, cutlery, tables etc being brought in from outside. The food does not "subsidise the event" - this year it paid for itself but did not generate additional revenue for the event.
"The food truck was excellent, but long queues - it would have been great to have some kind of snack wagon perhaps - often I only wanted a brownie and a coffee - but queues we long and it took them quite a while to make!"
"Amy's Caravan got only a Good because the coffee was awful. Oh okay so that's a suggestion: better coffee please!"
"No espresso anywhere :("
"Went to a festival a while ago that had a coffee man and his truck - totally perfect and would be happy to pass on details."
"I didn't think there were enough food options for those not banqueting- the Cosmic Caravan was expensive and only open at set times."
"Only having 1 food service to purchase otherwise was not enough. there should be 2 or 3 options, resulting in less wait time, and offering more choice. even if one option is simply cold sandwiches, etc."
"Amy's Cosmic Caravan was like a bad sketch..... Their caravan kitchen was the most luxuriously equipped I've seen in years, but the staff seemed to have no clue or experience in how to use it or deal with paying customers. Just awful."
Tobias responds: The two food providers (vegetarian and meat) around Amy's Cosmic Caravan got at best mixed reviews; while their food was generally considered to be of good quality the service and the coffee got poor marks. The food is being freshly prepared with good quality ingredients and therefore there is likely to be some kind of wait, though I will meet with Amy to discuss what can be done to minimise this in furture. I am aware that some of the service issues were related to technical problems such as power and refrigeration that we solved during the weekend and can prevent in future. These issues were largely at our end rather than Amy's and caused knock-on effects that she and guests bore the brunt of. As mentioned above, adding too many more providers may be difficult within our small number of guests. But it should be possible to add a coffee/tea/cake stall or truck if there is a demand for standalone coffee. If anyone has feedback about the opening hours they would prefer for food providers, please let me know or mention it in the Facebook group.
"The alcohol pre-order was really great."
One guest wrote "Bar prices much higher than last year".
"The bar prices were slightly too high, and so it deterred people from spending much, including myself. If the prices had been (even slightly) lower, we would have bought more drinks, and spent more in total. Personally I felt like we were bring 'ripped off', so I was much less inclined to spend."
TOBIAS RESPONDS: Thanks everyone who gave feedback on the bar. The majority of drinks were priced exactly the same as last year. The exceptions are that a glass of Pimms was 50p more than last year, shots were £1 more than last year and bottles of Prosecco were £5 less than last year. There was also the option of drinks pre-orders, all of which were significantly cheaper than last year.
One guest mentioned among their least favourite things that soft drinks were £3 a pint , which is true but also fairly standard across clubs and festivals.
The bar is a main revenue source and it subisidises other aspects of the event, as well as being the only potential area where I might make any money for myself. We don't want to encourage a heavy drinking culture, at the same time we don't want people bringing alcohol from outside. I have already held an extensive meeting with the bar team from Dive Bars and we have discussed various ways in which we can make the bar service more convenient and of an appropriate quality. It is unlikely that the prices will get lower, but they are not likely to get higher either - our plan is to keep to a very similar level. We will be looking at how we can improve the quality and range of soft drinks including juices and coffee.
"The toilet and shower facilities were much better this year, there didn't seem to be enough last year but you got it spot on this time"
"It wasn't a huge deal but would have been fab if the loos had all worked throughout the weekend"
"There was also an obvious problem with the power cutting out and with the toilets/showers not working regularly. Having them work would greatly improve the experience. :)"
"I was dismayed when the water went off as I had such a small horrible tent that the toilets and showers made the whole camping thing bearable for me so I was sooo relieved when they returned! "
"The showers died once or twice, and I didn't think they drained as nicely as I would have liked, but overall they were SUCH A GOOD THING!"
"I preferred the long-drop loos to the chemical ones. Can we have more please?"
"Open air showers?"
Tobias responds: Long drop loos are wonderful and environmentally friendly but are really at the discretion of the venue, which built them. There was one open air shower this year at the Lost Horizon sauna. I am unlikely to add open air showers as we already invest a lot of money and effort into the indoor showers. I am really glad to see that our additional planning and budget allocated to toilets, showers and the cleaning of these areas compared to 2013 has been largely successful. Apologies that at several points the showers and toilets stopped working. To my understanding this was an intermittent power issue. Of course I can't guarantee that there will never be outages but I hope we will have an even more robust system next year.
"Would have liked to have partied a little later on the other nights."
"The workshops were incredibly useful and have seriously changed my life."
"Argentine Tango dance lessons please"
"5 Rhythms Dance, Yoga later in the day."
"More kink/bdsm workshops and play"
"Too many workshops were spiritual/tantra based."
"Less keen on hippy type workshops, liked the talks and dance workshop."
"The Blues dance workshop which took place on the Sunday afternoon would have been a brilliant thing to happen at some point before the party, and possibly with more space. Partner dance classes are a wonderful way to connect to and flirt with strangers in a physical way, especially as you swap partners and get to dance with everyone. I felt I made some connections there which could have been followed up at the party if they had been the other way around."
"Workshops were often full, rooms were too small."
"Too many events clashing at the same times. Would have been good to be able to go to more... Maybe shorter sessions but more slots?"
"I thought the schedule was a bit rammed, and not always on time. I felt like I had little time to just relax, without having to skip a session."
One guest asked "Did you run a painting workshop - would have been fun to do body painting on each other with a bit of guidance"
Tobias comments: Thank you for your feedback. On the Sunday afternoon, Squiggles and Wiggles ran a lifedrawing and bodypainting workshop. In terms of capacity it is true that the rooms were full though my understanding is that compared to last year we had fewer instances of people not being able to get into their chosen session, plus we added extra spaces like the marquee which could take large numbers of people if necessary. And bear in mind that if it had been bright sunshine, a lot of the workshops would have been empty. So it's a balancing act. The comments seem to suggest that more dance and kink workshops would be appreciated. A few people are suggesting that perhaps there is too much content and perhaps we should take some of the slots out. Our workshop hosts are unlikely to want to make the slots themselves much shorter in duration. But I will take these suggestions into consideration when discussing plans with our curators for next year; also we will make the dining and party times central to our planning so that you don't feel you are rushed or missing anything.
"A talk, early on, on gender please!"
Tobias responds: One guest suggested "a trampoline" as something we could add. There was a trampoline but some rather enthusiastic bouncing on the second day rendered it broken! We'll have to see about investing in a more fancy / more sturdy trampoline for future.
One guest suggested "a ball pit" as something we could add. This is conceivable though with swimming pool and hot tub it is a low priority.
Another guest suggested "parachutes, so we can play parachute games". This may be possible; if anyone would like to commit to sourcing parachutes and hosting parachute games next year please add your name to our volunteer form.
"A ceremony around the opening of the playrooms would be a nice touch, or something similar to consolidate the conscious feel of the event."
Tobias responds: We will almost certainly have more ceremony next year and have begun to plan ideas for those.
"The Saturday night in the library..fabulous impromptu piano and wonderful people dancing..it was like the novel inside my head coming to life"
"The Saturday night party! Amazing DJs and Cabaret acts."
"Obviously Saturday night - but actually the whole of the night, the dressing up, the cabaret, the dancing and the play party! The whole shbang! (Closely followed by the films and the 'vintage' disco - please please please please please have a vintage disco again!!!! Could have danced for HOURS..."
"Minor - Bigger library cabaret room"
"I would have liked to have seen the Friday night cabaret but I couldn't get in!"
" I loved the wandering accordion player...perhaps more acts like him? Or up and coming folky bands might offer to play accoustic sets during the day for free?"
"The live music on the Saturday was a great choice. Really happy, sweet people."
Tobias responds: About 14% of guests named the Saturday night cabaret as their single most favourite aspect of the weekend. Although I also could not get into the cabaret room on Friday night, I saw much of the Rumpus show, the two fire shows, and the Saturday night music room. For me some of the musical moments, particularly with Jaz's piano spontaneously accompanying a dancer, were a real highlight. You can be sure we'll do more along those lines next year.
"I really loved the film showings... they were very sweet and it felt like a big community sleepover."
Tobias responds: Thanks to our film hosts for introducing their favourite films. I apologise that my hard drive broke and we couldn't show Dead Poets Society on Sunday night, but Harold and Maude went down well and felt quite magical. We will repeat the film showings next year so if you'd like to host your favourite film, please make contact!
"I would have adored it if the playrooms were open both nights."
"I would have liked a dedicated cruising room for the play party as downstairs was such a different vibe, I found it difficult to approach people/know if they were interested in playing."
"Maybe a dedicated kink playroom?"
"There could have been more provision for BDSM activities - the first Summer House had a fairly active dungeon"
Tobias responds: This year we placed kink furniture upstairs, but the number of people overwhelmed the kit, so I will be happy to look at an entirely separate area for kink kit next year. If you would like to host or DM a BDSM area please make contact. How to approach people is always a challnging question and with only limited spaces it's difficult to know where a pre-play area might go, but I will bear that comment in mind. Personally I am not particularly into opening the playrooms on two nights, not just because of the practical challenges of setting and tidying them up, but also because I like the slow build-up of anticipation towards Saturday night, which gives everyone a chance to get to know one another. However we have had requests for a "conscious playroom" and I would be interested in providing a yurt or similar area that could be hosted by a group as some sort of quiet playspace that could potentially open earlier. If you'd like to take on the responsibility of holding such a space please let me know.
"I'd have preferred to see a larger amount of non-spiritual practitioners on-site."
Tobias responds: With fewer bookings received for the holistic treatments this year compared to 2013, we are keen to estanlish exactly which kinds of treatments that guests would like. Faerie has started a thread on the private Facebook group on just this subject - please feel free to respond. I think it is likely we will provide more conventional massage and beauty treatments next year.
"The hot tubs were wonderful"
"I encountered only one person who was outwardly sexist, misogynistic and oblivious to non-binary folk and it was the fellow who owned/ran the hot tubs. His behaviour made the hot tubs somewhere I didn't want to be. I really felt he made others feel uncomfortable too, particularly the "hot babes" he kept referring to."
Tobias responds: In their freeform answers, about 19% of respondents named the hot tubs as their favourite aspect of the weekend. A couple of people mentioned "shutting the hot tubs at midnight" as the single biggest thing we got wrong.
At the same time I was utterly dismayed to read the comment from a guest who experienced sexist, misogynistic and potentially transphobic behaviour from the host of the hot tub area. I have spoken with Simon the hot tub host and he apologises profusely for the upset he has caused. As a resident of Brighton and second timer at the Summer House Simon is friendly with many LGBT people, knows non-binary ideas and language and understands that this is not acceptable behaviour at The Summer House. Thank you for bringing this to my attention - I will be keeping a closer eye out in future and please do not be afraid to make similar reports at any time.
"Also the sauna, it was awesome, thank you Lost Horizon."
"The Lost Horizon was one of the best places to be"
Guest feedback on other things we got wrong not mentioned above
"On several occasions members of the crew/volunteers misgendered us or used gendered greetings such as "here are your drinks ladies" or "here are your wrist bands girls". I have been thinking of carrying business-like cards with less gendered alternatives such as: guys/folks/lovely people to hand out as it's really hard to bring up at the time without shaming said crew member or outing ourselves. If all crew and volunteers were explicitly asked not to assume gender pronouns or preferred identity that would be awesome. It was the only problematic aspect."
Tobias responds: Thank you for this comment. I apologise that we have caused upset to you and others at those moments where people have fallen short. So you understand the steps we currently take, the majority of our crew are drawn from related communities such as KSL, though a few are from outside and sometimes less exposed to our expected positive practice around language and gender. All performers, crew and contributors are sent a document explaining what is and is not acceptable behaviour, which includes an instruction not to make assumptions about pronouns or identity. This has been the case since the start. On top of that all area curators are asked to speak to their staff and contributors with a reminder of our expectations. I have personal meetings with bar managers and other key staff including the house owners to remind them not to take care around these sensitive areas. But clearly the message is not getting through perfectly. Someone has suggested perhaps a worksghop on gender towards the start of the weekend. If appropriate I might make a mention of this on the first two opening meetings. Anything you would like to do to raise consciousness around non-binary or gender-neutral language will be welcomed with open arms, as will any more feedback.
"I would really like for there to be more explicit rules/statements about cultural appropriation and how that's not ok. It should be a safe space for everyone, and 99% of the time it is, but in some performances it was on/over the edge of ok! (this goes for costumes as well)"
Tobias responds: Thank you for this comment. I would like to know more about the performances and costumes that fell into this category - if you feel willing, perhaps this could be raised as a matter of debate on the Facebook group.
"Some people seemed to have been allowed in the the event without a PAL, which surprised me though wasn't a problem."
Tobias responds: We took much greater steps this year to ensure security around PALs, including keeping several guests waiting outside until their PAL turned up, and writing PAL names on wristbands. Some volunteers or contributors are without PALs but are closely known to me and the team, and are expected to uphold the same standards of behaviour as everyone else. If beyond this you know of other cases please feel free to let me know.
Guest requests for things we didn't have but should add
"A little shop selling crisps and chocolate?"
"A little shop to buy essentials- bread, milk, pot noodles, chocolate, coffee etc would have been great."
Tobias responds: This is not entirely out of the question though I have some concerns around this proposal...first is whether it can be made to support itself financially (if we buy wholesale, are there enough guests who want to buy the stuff to make it break even)...and the second is about the expectation vs the reality, ie can we stock the items that people need, and if not will they be even more upset than if we had nothing!? Feel free to comment on the Facebook group.
A communal cooking area for self caterers. Organise the BBQ's and other paraphernalia in one place."
"Maybe communal fridges so everyone could bring a bit of food, get some sort of wristband, and make meals in the area?"
Tobias responds: Many thanks for these suggestions...though I'm not up for the idea at this stage. We currently have enough cost and logistical concerns with refrigeration and cooking for the food we sell, plus the associated risk assessment / health and safety considerations...and I don't want to extend that work to peoples' self-cooking. For the time being I hope self campers can be self-reliant on whatever they bring. If the event grows, perhaps we can reassess this in a few years.
"I think you could have a dress up tent - people seemed to really like the hat making and the people selling their clothes, but it would have been great to have a tent of things for people to try on... Know that would be hard, but perhaps we could ask people to donate costumes? I know many come with their costumes, but lots of people wanted to add to them - decorate them - so more of that really..."
"This is just a personal thing but i would have appreciated a tent dressing room maybe by the toilets...just a communal space to get changed in with a mirror and a screen as I literally could not even sit up in my tent let alone dress. I ended up putting on stockings and my party gown in the toilets just behind the door (the cubicle was locked as broken) which felt a bit undignified!! But the people who saw me there were so nice and well, it's all part of it I suppose!"
Tobias responds: Yes! We definitely want to think about how to make the whole pre-party dressing-up it more fun and easy next year. Thanks!
"The ability to either borrow a trolley to take stuff down to the campsite or option to drive things down for those with mobility challenges (but who don't have a disability badge) would have made the set up more fun. I do totally get the need to preserve the environment so perhaps a trolley for loan would have been a good option?"
Tobias responds: Sure! I have a trolley that I can bring down next year for guests with access issues next year. And any guest who is registered disabled is able to park and camp pretty much where they like within reason - this can be organised with us in advance (we also provide disabled toilet and shower facilities). There needs to be balance howeever as we cannot allow all guests to drive around the site - it's not safe or good for the gras. What's more, Santi and I and other crew members ended up lifting and carrying quite a lot of bags for guests in 2013 when the site was bigger...which is not something we want to perpetuate!
"A playlist for people to add songs"
"Something to help with the post SH blues."
Tobias responds: Next year I'll try and do more in the way of socials and playlists for before and after the event. Thanks for these suggestions!
What was your one most favourite thing about the weekend (if not mentioned above)
"The community and escapist atmosphere you created. And the costumes! And the hot tubs. And the food. Basically the whole thing."
"Such a friendly, relaxed crowd!"
"Everything. Oh my god everything. The inclusion. The "welcome home" atmosphere"
"Chilled and friendly atmosphere"
"The atmosphere gave people permission to be so friendly and playful, the way this was supported by structure, toilets, showers, facilitators, artists, programme etc was amazing"
"Love love love" (multiple people referred to love as their favourite thing!)
"The sense of freedom and acceptance"
"It's a toss up between the best nakedness, particularly at Lost Horizon (with not a single unwanted touch or consent violation) and the warm and safe culture where there is no shame and lots of community looking after thy neighbour type behaviour."
"The amazing community you have created!" (Multiple people referred to community as their favourite thing)
"Workshops, atmosphere, feeling of freedom and safety"
"The people and how whimsical it all felt."
"Mix of sessions and chillout time"
"I felt accepted and welcome""
"Burlesque and a party! And jealousy workshop.... Too much to choose between.
"The people!! People were friendly, funny,creative, explorative and non-judgemental – and they made an amazing community vibe. Also, it was nice that people seemed to enjoy their drink without getting utterly smashed - probably due to the small scale and word-of-mouth nature of the weekend."
Any other thoughts / feedback not mentioned above
"It was so perfect. Really. Perfect."
"It really was beautiful and a huge privilege to attend...given all the work which must have gone into it, it was genuinely impressive and such a happy occasion.... It's a real gift to the community that you created it and I'll always do my best to support it + its ethos in the future."
"We super loved 2013 Summer House but 2014 managed to improve on it in every way. It felt very organised, and although apparently less people, a lot more things going on. Running Thursday night to Monday morning was brilliant also. I think 2013 had Saturday only party tickets available whereas 2014 didn't so felt more like community - by the end I felt like I recognised everyone. Such a great collection of people coming together."
"I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the freedom Summer House gave. As a trans person, being naked in mixed spaces is something that is quite challenging even though I am 100% comfortable with my body. I have the safety factor to thing about too and I just don't always know how people will react. At Summer House, once I took off my clothes, didn't want to put them back on again due to feeling awkward by other people. I didn't once feel awkward/stared at/judged about being naked with a trans body. I did struggle a little during the play party though because I wasn't sure who would be interested in playing with me as a trans/queer person (and because of up and downstairs having different vibes). Overall, though, you created an amazing weekend with loads of lovely and vibrant people that has left me with many happy memories. :) "
"I loved it all and felt so welcome..it's hard to criticise really or single out one single fab thing!
Thanks so much it was a fabulous and very heart warming week-end "
"You guys are incredible, it was such an inspiration to work with such competent and passionate organisers. I absolutely love what you're doing and as a newbie to the scene I couldn't have felt more welcome."
"Just a note to say how much I enjoyed the weekend. I've spent years going to lots of events like these ...and often have felt underwhelmed. The community at Summer House really does feel beautiful."
"There were just the right amount of people. Don't try to grow the event too quickly- you'll lose the intimacy and friendliness of it"
"Honestly it's very hard to criticise anything at all! I had a marvellous time, just the right mix of work and party for me, great workshops/facilitators, and on and on... I would do this again in a flash. It's what festivals should be, and we concluded several times that our world should more closely resemble Summer House at all times. We're working on it."
One guest described The Summer House ethos as "the creation of an oasis of a sex-positive, conscious artistic haven to be ourselves."
"I just felt the whole weekend was magical and managed to be even better than last year, everybody did a great job!"
Just wanted to add that I thought the overall management of the build up was EXCELLENT - not being a night person I actually LIKED being told to go to bed (yes, I am admitting it!!) on the Friday night, I would have stayed up farrrrr too late and been knackered for the following day - it meant too that there were not many casualties on Saturday day time, which was great! People were still clear headed and able to get involved with workshops & talks.... I loved people having the option to do 'crafty' stuff as well as workshops & talks and think the mix was excellent - just the right balance - one of my most special memories...was seeing everyone out on the grass playing, making, chatting, laying, balancing etc etc - I think it is a great way to get people talking, but getting them to use their hands and be active at the same time and would love to build on that aspect next year - the paper sculptures looked amazing hung on the Saturday night ... I loved the films too... Hedwig - it sparked so many conversations and a much greater understanding of some very special people. Just gutted we couldn't see 'Harold & Maude'"
"Felt it was an amazing event overall. Some really interesting activities and people. Was a shame I couldn't so more of them! Overall amazing though! I hope to be back"
"Awesome event, thanks Tobias for all that you do of this."
"We had a fantastic time, we have so many amazing experiences, and made lots of new friends. The small inconveniences were vastly over shadowed by the huge positives, and we will definitely be coming again!!"
"My first festival experience - and it was awesome!! Thank you x"
Tobias responds: Thanks to everyone who took the time to write their feedback. If you have more comments or questions to add, feel free to comment on the private Facebook group (send me a Facebook friend request accompanied by a message saying you wish to become a member).