Planeteers Madge and Sarah share the experience of a European LBQ Festival – L Beach
Fantastically well organised. Great site location. Apartment was great – got a little welcoming pack with practical things in it, like a coffee filter, tea light candle and washing up liquid. Everything you need is on site: Supermarket. And other shops. But mostly the supermarket. I do like a European supermarket. On one of the days, I visited the supermarket FOUR times. Seriously – why do you need to plan ahead when you’ve got a supermarket on your doorstep? I was like, ‘um, what do I need to keep me happy for the next few hours…?’
We were given maps and the program on arrival. Good little kitchen in the apartment but supermarket and restaurants close a lot earlier than we are used to in London, so make sure you are stocked up and don’t end up with a vending machine Mars bar for dinner like we did!
We had quite a mission getting there and back, due to German transport abnormalities. There was a strike on the way up and track failure on the way back. Just unlucky.
We did befriend two South Africans who had travelled ALL THE WAY FROM SOUTH AFRICA for L-Beach, so they became our English-speaking buddies for the festival.
BETTY – L-Circus
I had seen BETTY live at L-Fest the summer before, not knowing that they were the L-Word theme song band, and was thoroughly captivated, so was delighted to get the chance to see them live once more, this time in a much bigger venue.
They pulled quite a crowd, as the organisers probably expected, so were preceded by a mini awards ceremony – I’ll bfore honest, I don’t really know because it was in German and I was wanting BETTY – what I presume were outstanding lesbians in various sectors such as charity work.
In addition to their usual songs, BETTY debuted a silly song called ‘Sticky Rice’. A bit electro, very silly, with a mini dance routine. Can’t decide whether it was a food/sex metaphor, but it was almost certainly lost on the Germans.
They ended and did an encore with a jolly ditty about German beer that didn’t sound very German at all, yet it was enough to please the crowd in the big tent.
We also learnt during BETTY’s performance that we were located just off the Baltic sea. For some reason, I thought it was the North sea, but I did know that Denmark had to get involved at some point. So, thanks to BETTY, we exclaimed ‘it’s f*cking Baltic’ each time we were cold after this. Which was fairly frequent given that we were on the windy north German coast in late April…
BETTY are such an achingly cool ensemble and I’d love to live a week in the life of each of them just to see what it’s like.
DJ Amy B – L-Pool and L-Lounge
Something of a celesbrity at L-Beach.
I loved all the songs that Amy played. Many of my favourites. They might not necessarily strike a chord with Germans in the same way as they perhaps would with an English crowd for singing along, but still great tunes that get everybody dancing.
Karaoke – L-Dorado
I sang a few songs on karaoke. My particular favourite was doing all of Grease Megamix by myself. There wasn’t much of a crowd in on this sunny afternoon, but by the time I’d finished, they’d all left – probably sickened by how amazingly awesome I was.
Casino – L-Dorado
We walked in as one of the Burlesque acts was on. To be honest, I didn’t notice there were tables at first. I thought they’d got ‘casino’ confused with ‘cabaret’, and then I looked down.
There were four tables: two dedicated to Pontoon, one to Roulette and the other to Texas Hold ‘Em.
The way it worked was you paid 10 Euros for 10 fake dollars on the door and you got spots on your wristband for every 5 Euros you spent with a house maximum of 4 dots. So, no chance of losing your car or your home…
The croupiers were incredibly well turned out and really ran the tables well.
We had a great time gambling. Most fun you can have with your clothes on. While occasionally there’s someone one stage taking theirs off.
I didn’t know there was a pool as it didn’t really stand out for me on the programme beforehand, so arrived sans swimming costume. Was just gonna sit in there and chill to the music, but it was SO WARM. I wasn’t even wearing much, like really thin clothes, BUT IT WAS SO WARM. In the end, I just couldn’t resist the lovely water, so got in the pool fully clothed. We were joined by our South African chums and had a blast! Until we went on the rapids. I would have to say that was my least favourite part of the whole weekend. I wasn’t ready, couldn’t control my body on the descent, almost drowned each time. It’s like they’ve tried to make waterboarding fun.
Went to the supermarket on my way back to the apartment, still slightly damp and squelching. It was raining though, so I thought it’d be fine. Got a lot of tuts and looks of disdain from German lesbians. Strongly got the impression that’s not how people normally behave at a festival and that I was a disgrace to lesbians everywhere. Tsk!
I LOVED the pool party. There were lots of slides and the rapids were hilarious. Be aware of the cave in the rapids which I unwittingly entered alone and found full of couples making out.
DJ – L Dorado
Mostly German songs at first. Learnt a new one: Atemlos durch die Nacht (Breathless Through the Night by Helene Fischer) which is VERY popular among the German lesbian contingent. (I watched the YouTube video when I got back and could see why. It also has a catchy tune and meaningful lyrics.) Then the songs got more English and cheesy as the night progressed and I danced with a couple of Germans in hold (who I strongly suspect were dance instructors, but they were giving nothing away!) I would say that on the last night, Germans were a bit more open to talking to others.
This DJ was called “DJ Blue…S”. Despite the name she was wearing bright pink.
Wakeboarding – WaWaCo
Planeteer Sarah did wakeboarding early on a Sunday morning. Much to our surprise, the instructor was late. Wakeboarding is hard. Only a few non-pros managed to get off and go all the way round. Most people smacked the water at the start. Game over.
I was hungover and tired, but made it to WaWaCo on time, only to sit drinking coffee until the instructor, Leslie, arrived. She redeemed herself by being completely lovely. Unlike wakeboarding I have tried before, there was no boat, just a mechanical cable pulling you around. It was very hard and the water was freezing (duh, Baltic!). After a few dunks and a lot of frustration I told Leslie I was giving up, but she decided I should go on a kneeboard so I could “see how it would feel if you could get all the way around”. This was much easier and a lot of fun. Afterwards there was a “hot pot” which is like a giant bath where you can warm up.
L-Beach and L-Pier
The whole festival is set right next to a beach with a small pier. A few lesbians did take a dip, but it was very cold and we avoided it. They have these things called “Strandkorb” which are like chairs built into a tiny, mobile beach hut. These offer you some protection from the cold if you want to enjoy the beach view for a while. Between the accommodation and the beach there is a bit of a farmyard with some cows. It’s quite lovely.
Finale Night – L-Circus
On Sunday night the L-Circus tent was packed and there was 6 hours of acts, broken up by DJs and hosts. I went to see the last act, Luxuslärm, a German rock band with a super hot singer. They were fantastic and gave a passionate and engaging performance. The crowd loved them! I couldn’t understand a single word of their songs but I enjoyed the show nonetheless.
Afterwards, all the performers from the weekend got on stage together for a grand finale.
Closing festival – L-Lounge
It was raining, so the closing festival was indoors. Red balloons. Germans go crazy for red balloons – who knew? They’re incredibly symbolic. I can see how if it had been dry, sunny (!) weather, the release of lots of helium-filled balloons from the beach over the Baltic would have looked amazing. Instead, the Germans still lost their shit over them and some did a mini parade in the rain outside the before letting them go.
TOP PLANET LONDON TIPS FOR L-BEACH
When you buy your first drink from the bar, you pay for your drink plus an euro for an L-Beach branded plastic cup and a token. To avoid paying an extra euro each time, littering or collecting cups (and tokens!), keep hold of your token and present it at the bar with your empty cup in order to get served with a fresh drink in a fresh cup . Clever method by the organiser to prevent drunken festival littering. I did end up with a token and cup left over and decided to keep my lovely L-Beach branded beaker as a souvenir. After all, I did quite well with taking back 18 empty bottles of beer back to the supermarket. Recycle Germany!
The security at L-Beach are badass and don’t stand for any nonsense. The rules are the rules. We’re all going to have controlled fun, ok? Ensure that you plan your drinking and your movement between venues because you cannot walk through a white tent with two patrolling security guards unless your L-Beach branded plastic cup is empty or at least that you’ve shown them you’ve struggled to chug down until there’s a mouthful remaining.
Being a native English speaker was something of a novelty. Even though it’s the largest lesbian festival in Europe, I strongly suspect there were fewer than 50 non-German revellers at the whole festival. Most attendees seemed to hail from Germany, especially the northern regions. It isn’t that they are unfriendly; they just keep themselves to themselves, aren’t very cosmopolitan or outgoing and expect everyone and everything to be German. You can’t blame them – they are in Germany.
You will find that there is the odd one in a group who is incredibly helpful and likes to explain what’s going on. Some of the more raucous types do open up after a drink or two and are willing to shout things with you over loud music. The best plan I found towards the end was to ask something clumsily in German, to which they were more than happy correct my question and answer it. At one point with this method, I did manage to get help with the cigarette machine, learn the German word for ‘lighter’ andfind out the title to a song just from one group of people! But we still didn’t really bond.
If you are planning on going to L-Beach, my advice would be not to expect too much from forming friendship groups as there is a cultural barrier with regard to group dynamics and, of course, language.
We were very unlucky with the travel in both directions. It was most unusual. My tip would be to book the ICE both ways. It is a very sexy train, after all. Don’t skimp on travel costs and get the regionals like I did on the way up. It takes twice the time, getting a seat is difficult, and you increase the risk something going awry with the connection, like industrial action.
Weissenhaeuser Strand is a considerable distance from the airport. Not that I would wish it on anybody, but you might like to consider booking a cheap room in Hamburg for the night before making the journey up or for the return flight. It is only an hour from Hamburg main station by high speed train (ICE), but that is quite a lot of ground to cover in the event of having to bus it.
We did try to attend a workshop (Alles uber sex, of course) but when we got there it was full and no more people were allowed in. If you want to attend workshops, I would suggest getting to them early to secure your place.
Date attended: April 2015
Review by: Madge Hooks and Sarah Lavender
Photos from the event
As not all women are out, these photos are only available to our site members.
Most fun you can have with your clothes on. While occasionally there’s someone on stage taking theirs off.
What to expect at the event
Value for Money
Value for Money