Bliss Festival 2016

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Bliss Festival is unique in the world, it is the only non-profit Festival that offers space for adults to explore & celebrate sexuality in a location of natural beauty, in an environment free from alcohol & the recreational use of drugs, that offers a holistic approach to exploring sexuality - Sexual Freedom, Health, & Pleasure in Mind, Body, & Spirit. Click here to visit the website and find out more!


''Bliss 2015 was the second Bliss Festival I have been to, & the most positive & joyful event I have ever attended. I will keep on attending & supporting in any way I can, because I believe it is at the cutting edge of repealing our repressed & so called 'sinful' society.''


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WHO?


The people who attend the Festival are varied, ages range from late teens to late 60s, people from all over Ireland and as far away as the west coast of the USA & Australia return year after year. People who are monogamous, celibate, & in open and/or polyamorous relationships come to the Festival. People come looking to improve the connection with their partner, to meet new friends, to meet new lovers, to learn about themselves and not engage physically with others at all - there are as many reasons for attending the Festival as there are people who attend! All gender expressions & sexual orientations are welcome, as is everyone over the age of 18 who is willing to abide by our community standards, which boil down to basic respect for oneself & others.


''It was a life changing Festival for me''




WHERE?


The Festivals have taken place in each of Ireland's 4 modern provinces, the 1st two were held in Dublin, the 3rd in West Cork, the 4th in Galway, and most recently the 5th was held in Ulster in August 2015. It's been an important part of the project to bring the Festival, and all that goes with it in terms of local business revenue & simply the energy that the Festival brings & creates, to all four corners of Ireland. Ireland has experienced many events over the centuries that have, sexually & in other ways, scarred the people & culture, the Festival has deliberately been held in or near places where such events have taken place; for example, in 2014 the Festival was held near the largest mass grave of babies & children, nearly 800 in total, from a mother & baby home, & in 2015 the Festival was held at the site of the largest single loss of British military life in the Northern Ireland ''troubles''. It is now our wish to bring Festival 2016 to the ancient province of Mide, ancient home of Ireland's High Kings, to complete the journey around the island, & to symbolically come to a place of personal & collective sovereignty.


A venue has been provisionally booked, though it is not in the ancient province of Mide it is very suitable, so when the crowdfunding campaign is successful rest assured that a venue has been secured!





 Bruce Lyon, Keynote Speaker Festival 2015


WHEN?

We intend for Bliss Festival 2016 to take place August 12th - 15th.




WHAT?


The Festival is a unique mix of experiential workshops, informative talks, educational classes, rituals & ceremonies, as well as the usual Festival fare of fun activities, entertainment & performances, food, as well as products & services to purchase to enhance the Festival experience! It's important, in fact it's vital, that the Festival is free from the recreational use of drugs & alcohol - Ireland has a long history of using alcohol in particular as a way to soften the discomfort of dealing with sexuality, amongst many other issues, & it's our desire to remove this crutch and really deal, maturely, consciously, honestly & openly, with the subject.


''It was a truly amazing experience, challenging and boundary pushing at times but also fun, beautiful and intimate. I have taken so much away and left a lot behind too. I was blown away by the warmth and love I felt for and from so many of the attendees and I feel I have re-connected with myself and with my partner in ways where I hadn't even realised the connection had frayed.''


Fire performer - Festival 2015


Fire performer - Festival 2015


WHY?


The Festival offers space to people for a wide variety of reasons, some people come to heal past traumas, particularly sexual or relationship traumas, some people come to learn new skills & techniques so that they can enjoy this aspect of ourselves to its' fullest capacity, some people come simply to make new like-minded friends, others come to explore themselves & know themselves more deeply and to grow, others come to engage with others sexually, there are many reasons people attend the Festival, as many reasons as there are people who attend!


Bliss Ireland Founder & Director, Beth Wallace, speaking at Bliss Festival 2015


Bliss Ireland Founder & Director, Beth Wallace, speaking at Bliss Festival 2015


The Festival was started by Beth Wallace, Beth has nearly a 30 year history of study, personal exploration & professional practice in the broad field of human sexuality. Beth has worked in the field of sexual health, mostly in the area of HIV/AIDS & Sexual Health, for most of her professional career, her academic background is in Applied Psychology & Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Beth has long walked the edge of what is ''socially acceptable'' in terms of sexuality, personally exploring different types of relationships, sexual orientation, sexual activities & behaviours, as well as spiritual paths that place an emphasis on sexuality such as classical & modern Tantra, Wicca, & Taoism. Beth has been outspoken, open, & very publicly honest about her experiences, thoughts, & opinions.




Personally Beth has also been touched by Ireland's pervasive sexual dysfunction; born in a mother & baby home to an unmarried mother at a time in Ireland when the greatest shame a woman could experience was to be an unmarried mother, she was born into an Ireland that viewed her through a lens of sexual shame. Beth later experienced sexual abuse as a child & rape as an adult woman. All these experiences added together with Beth's professional education & practice have led her to have a deeply insightful & comprehensive view of sexuality in general but particularly the uniquely Irish context. It is this rich pot of experience that informs & underpins the work of Bliss Ireland.




Beth's intention for the Festival, and the project as a whole, is to open up conversation & discussion in a mature, adult and honest fashion, about sexuality, about all aspects of it; from trauma, pain, & shame to pleasure, bliss, & ecstasy, and everything in between. Sexuality is often pathologised in our culture, programmes on TV regularly speak about abuse, assault, trafficking, sexually transmitted infections & unplanned pregnancies, but where is the talk of pleasure? where do adults learn how to access & harness this personal power source? where do we learn to maximise our potential for connection & intimacy through our sexual experiences? Sex education in Ireland, as it is in most of the world, is sorely lacking, we are not, in general, even taught the full information about our genital & reproductive physiology, let alone what to do with it all, how to enjoy it or how to enjoy it with someone else! This is what the project as a whole, and specifically the Festival, intends to create space for to explore, express & celebrate.


''What an incredible event, beautiful beyond words.''


WHY ARE WE CROWDFUNDING?


We are crowdfunding for two reasons -


The project is a non-profit, some events have not covered costs & some have produced a small profit, which has all in the end balanced out, until this summer...... This summer the 2015 Festival was subject to a sustained attack to prevent it taking place, purely on moral grounds. You can read more of the story by clicking here. Two people took exception to what the Festival was doing & how it was doing it and did all in their power to prevent the event taking place, this was an extremely stressful time for organisers, for Beth in particular who personally takes on the financial risk of every event. The campaign to stop the Festival taking place ended in the Belfast High Court just an hour before gates were due to open to the public. This campaign was unsuccessful in that the Festival did take place, but, it was also successful in that the Festival had to, very significantly, alter many logistical arrangements resulting in massive loss of income for the Festival, and large legal fees in order to ensure a Festival did in fact go ahead.


This very public stand for sexual freedom & personal liberty is one Beth Wallace, Founder & Director of the project, was happy to take, she is clear that she does not regret any action taken to ensure the Festival continued & at the time she willingly did so knowing that it may well cost her a lot of money personally as a result. Beth personally takes on the financial risk of every Bliss event, the Festival was no different, except the cost this time was high, very high, too high for one person to carry alone, which is where our community across the globe of like-minded people, friends old and new, comes in!



We are crowdfunding to:


a) repay Beth the legal fees, & other associated costs she has already paid out of her own pocket, as a result of the action to prevent the Festival taking place, this amounts to approximately €7,000 (€4000 of which has already been raised!) and


b) to gather seed money (which would have been raised through the 2015 Festival Café but was lost due to the High Court case) to ensure that there is a smooth organising of the 2016 Festival, this amounts to €11,000. The total goal for this campaign is €14,000 which translates to approximately £10,000.


If you would like to see Ireland continue to move forward in its' sexual healing, if you would like to see Beth continue to be a public spokesperson for this work, if you would like to see a Bliss Festival take place in 2016 and the project continue growing from powerful strength to powerful strength, then please contribute to and invest in this project and share its' story with your friends - this is essential work in the empowerment of our people, not just the people who attend the event but the 100s and 1000s that its' effects ripple out to in the months & years following each Festival!


Learn more about Beth Wallace by clicking here and more about Bliss Ireland by clicking here, thank you for reading, watching, & engaging with our vision! Your support is deeply appreciated and WILL make a difference to the landscape of how sexuality is explored & celebrated in this powerful land!


You can support the crowdfunding campaign by:


~ contributing to the campaign!


~ sharing the campaign on social media, along with WHY you feel it's important, and HOW it's impacted your life if you've attended the Festival or any Bliss event


~ sharing the campaign with your networks, your email list, friends, colleagues & anyone you feel may appreciate the project & what its' aiming to do


~ getting involved in next year's Festival! updates will be posted on the website in time.


~ joining the Facebook event page here & invite ALL your friends!


Thank you!


(keep reading if you'd like to read more about the impact of the Festival on those who've attended)


Bosca Beatha Mobile Sauna




''Thank you for this year's Bliss... lives were saved, spirits were set free, and the ancient soul of this wee emerald isle sang high, quite likely not as high since the days of the flight of the Earls... from that hallowed ground that is the north of Eriu.''


''It felt as if were not only healing our own sexual wounds but, given all the media attention, healing Ireland's as well!''





''Bliss 2015 was the second Bliss Festival I have been to, and the most positive and joyful event I have ever attended. I will keep on attending and supporting in any way I can, because I believe it is at the cutting edge of repealing our repressed and so called sinful society. The workshops and talks were varied and all were done in a conscious and respectful way. In most workshops I attended, we did some exercises in establishing boundaries, to reaffirm our ability to say no. One of the festivals sound-bites was: ''Yes means yes, no means no, maybe means no.'' Boundary setting was at the forefront of the ethos, and each person freely chose their own level of participation. Any level of involvement was supported and respected and everyone was free to explore in a completely safe and nurturing way. It was also one of the most real festivals I have even attended in terms of the connections I made with other people (without any sex whatsoever being involved!). All kinds of people. Since there was no alcohol or drugs, one of the highlights for me, was dancing with others, without inebriants making things messy. It was the most fun and free dancing I have had in years. I think Bliss is ESSENTIAL. It was a joy. And life affirming, to celebrate sexuality, and each other, in all our expressions.''

''Over recent years my life has changed - having no confidence and truly hated everything about myself - my beautiful wife bought me a ticket to the festival and it has changed my way of thinking and my life massively. I would recommend everyone, from all walks of life, to give it a try. When I got there on Friday I found that there was protesters outside trying to stop the festival and Beth Wallace went to the High Court, along with the owner of the castle, to protect the Festival, but although it went ahead the Festival was pushed to its' highest limits being refused use of the castle, and use of toilets & kitchen, the organisers made sure they did all they could to make things work and I can say it did work.

I went through those gates alone, scared, and unsure what to expect and came away happy and a lot more confident in myself. Every single person I met was so beautiful and respectful its unbelievable - it was about peace, love and respect, and a massive part was about respecting your own and others boundaries. It is impossible to see nudity there unless you go looking for it but what you do see every second of every day is amazing friendly people who looked deeper than your looks, body shape, gender or sexuality - very respectful weekend and amazing people, lots of connections made - so i would like to thank Beth and all the people who made this happen''


_MG_1731


Festival 2015 Performer



''I feel proud and grateful to have been part of this year's Bliss Festival, which went ahead in Northern Ireland, against all odds''



''Thanking you for a fab. weekend. All workshops I attended were good and most enlightening.''

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''There's been a lot of media attention fixated on the Bliss Festival that I've just come home from.

 Throughout the weekend there was a picket at the castle gates telling us we were all going to hell. The day we arrived to set up our tents, us vendors and volunteers were informed that the festival manager was presently in the Belfast High Court facing an injunction order to shut down the entire operation. Thankfully it went ahead, but in a vindictive, desperate act they locked down the castle venue, cutting off our access to bathrooms, kitchen, mains electricity and indoor space in the midst of rain and wind. An entire campsite of hundreds of people cut off from basic necessities. It was as if the festival-haters were trying to put us in our place; that depraved, uncivilised, animal-like state that they accused us of propagating, simply by questioning the norm.



But they were so, so wrong. We still persisted, despite their blinkered hate.


Here's the thing; every person that you would meet at that festival, every single one, would greet you, immediately make deep eye contact and share, without inhibition, whatever pain and abuse they had suffered. There were people who couldn't bare to be touched, were emotionally numb, miserable, confused, lost, and afraid that they would never be able to connect with any person or community ever again. The biggest act of bravery was them coming to this festival ready to have everything turned upside-down.

By the final hours of this morning, when we were packing up our sodden tents and saying goodbye to our new friends, you could see the light pulsing in people's eyes. They just spilled over with relief. They had questioned their beliefs, met their crippling fears and years of guilt and shame had begun to peel off them. They walked out of there today joyfully sharing with everyone how they were ready to heal all their relationships and authentically self-love for the first time in their lives. Ready to change the world.

Don't believe what the media are saying about this event. Support Bliss. The effectiveness of the workshops and classes delivered for healing mass societal trauma from broken and empty social interaction, isolated communities, culturally-encouraged self-hate and misunderstood intimacy is awe-inspiring. The movement for cultural change and positive, collective mental health has just gained hundreds more followers and it is absolutely imperative that they are supported by everyone for years to come.''


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''Life changing''



''This weekend was filled with hugs........ Humpty dumpty has dived head first from the wall, the shell is no more. We waded through the dizzy days with cheeks that ached from smiling and hearts which poured themselves into the fabric of all who we embraced. The bliss black hole has healed us and reminded us what it is to be free, full and expansive. With every flash back to those velvety memories, may we all come to realise that the moment in time created by hundreds of hearts will form a deep well of meaning and support to us as we blossom, exponentially.''



''Absolutely amazing''


''Thank you so much for making Bliss Festival 2015 happen, in spite of everything!''

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''When I got there I was very shy and didn't want to talk to anyone but OH MY GOD what an experience I had, every single person was so beautiful inside and out. I was made to feel part of the family and very welcome. I went to some amazing talks and workshops, it changed my way of thinking totally, and for the first time in a long time I felt like I belonged.''



From the Opening Ceremony


''Bliss has instantly rocketed me into a much higher vibration of unconditional love. I fell in love with everyone I had the pleasure to connect with and now I am out in the world looking at everyone as my brother and sister.''


''Really glad I went to the Festival, met some lovely people. Thanks for Bliss, long may it reign, looking forward to next year!''



''I had one of the most incredible, expansive weekends of my life last weekend at bliss festival''

 _MG_1731


''I connected with so many wonderful new friends and enjoyed spending time with old friends/family. The workshops I managed to get along to where absolutely fabulous. The folk doing the fire displays and music, you were absolutely stunning, thoroughly enjoyed watching each performance. The friendliness and welcome by everyone was great.''



''Just home after long weekend at Castle Bliss. What an incredible event, beautiful beyond words. Despite tremendous opposition from forces of ignorance and fear, obstacles thrown at us from every angle were swept away in the waves of Love, Power, Freedom and Bliss generated by a community of like minded souls who wish to nourish and nurture a healthy, liberated and sacred sexuality. Something this repressive, backward, quarter of the western world that is NI really needs a good dose of. It was delivered with passion! Deep love & respect....... to all the volunteers, facilitators and participants who helped make the event such a success. Was so good to get hang out with so many dear friends over the weekend too and to connect with many new friends of the Bliss community too. Love is the Law''

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''I know I speak for the majority when I say... I miss Bliss. Nature dictates that all forms of pleasure, beauty, ecstasy erupts like volcano's, shooting stars, orgasms then it fades until the next time ...

Guys it's all about the timing ... Let's stand back, be still and breathe in this weekends vibrations, pleasures, eruptions. It's ours to bathe in for a short time before it fades ... appreciate the people who made it possible, who's energy infused our souls with their presence ...

People arrived feeling as if they were broken ... They left with wings''


''I came to the festival from London. I have to tell you it was a truely magical weekend, well done with the challenges you faced and THANK YOU!!!!''

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''What made Bliss work was the over-riding sense that this event needed to happen - despite the logistics and the old world howling at the castle gates. What made a serendipitous weekend, for me, was the sense of homecoming and relief on new faces and the joy of reconnection radiating from Bliss veterans. Sex matters. Pleasure matters. Our shared human experience matters''




''First Bliss and what a joy, total RESPECT to everyone''








Does the campaign have a social media page?

Yes, you can join & share the event on Facebook, click here to go to the event page!

What happens if the target is not reached?

The 2016 Festival will not take place, & it's possible that the project as a whole will come to an end.

What happens if the target is exceeded?

Funds in excess of requirements will be invested back into the project, into the Festival or other events, to ensure that the project becomes more and more sustainable.

What if the funding target is not reached, and the Festival does not go ahead, what will happen to the funds raised?

If the overall funding target is not reached and the Festival does not go ahead all funds in excess of requirements to pay legal fees will be donated to a, yet to be decided, sexuality related group/charity in Ireland that is in alignment with the Bliss vision.

Can I contact the organiser?

Yes, by contacting her via the Bliss website, by clicking here.

When will we know if a Festival 2016 is taking place?

Ideally the funding target will be reached by the end of the campaign, November 25th, if it is then we will announce, by the end of 2015, the venue for the 2016 Festival. If the target is not met it depends on how close to the target funding comes.... in that case it may be early 2016 before the future of the Bliss Festival 2016, & Bliss Ireland, is decided & announced. We suggest you stay in contact with us via Facebook, Twitter, and/or the newsletter on the website to keep up to date with developments.

Can I contribute to the campaign after it's closing date?

YES, we've left the campaign open so that contributions can continue to come in.

Can I volunteer my services to the Festival?

If a Festival takes place in 2016 volunteer application forms, along with forms for presenters & performers to fill out, will be available on the website as soon as is possible after the Festival is announced.

If you have general questions about the Festival and Bliss Ireland please click here to go to the FAQ page on the website.

Backers (39)

  1. GIllian Mcilroy 
    2 years ago
    40
  2. Ernest Paulman 
    2 years ago
    50
  3. marcela vojackova 
    2 years ago
    20
  4. Beverlee Lewis 
    2 years ago
    50
  5. Helen McFarlane 
    2 years ago
    10
  6. Anita Furlong 
    2 years ago
    50
  7. ashley jones 
    2 years ago
    50
  8. Maria Mars 
    2 years ago
    24
  9. Lorae Lauritch 
    2 years ago
    100
  10. caroline pugh 
    2 years ago
    10
  11.  
    2 years ago
    20
  12. Eric Van Lente 
    2 years ago
    150
  13.  
    2 years ago
    30
  14. Paul Mayhook 
    2 years ago
    50
  15. dan winkle 
    2 years ago
    20
  16. Aaron Callaghan 
    2 years ago
    10
  17. S C McParlin 
    2 years ago
    200
  18. fintan brady 
    2 years ago
    5
  19. Sarah Sproule 
    2 years ago
    100
  20. Araminta Barbour 
    2 years ago
    40
  21. Tania Glyde 
    2 years ago
    20
  22. shona heald 
    2 years ago
    30
  23. Etain O'Kane 
    2 years ago
    30
  24. Miranda Mc Laren 
    2 years ago
    8
  25. betty martin 
    2 years ago
    40
  26. mary o Sullivan 
    2 years ago
    50
  27. mike curran 
    2 years ago
    20
  28. John-Paul Patton 
    2 years ago
    22
  29. John-Paul Patton 
    2 years ago
    350
  30. S C McParlin 
    2 years ago
    100
  31. Nicola Armstrong 
    2 years ago
    10
  32. John Cunningham 
    2 years ago
    40
  33. shona heald 
    2 years ago
    10
  34. John-Paul Patton 
    2 years ago
    20
  35. Ailish M Farragher 
    2 years ago
    40
  36. Michael Prendergast 
    2 years ago
    40
  37. Michael Prendergast 
    2 years ago
    40
  38. Ludwig Appeltans 
    2 years ago
    10
  39. Hazel V Newton 
    2 years ago
    40

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