Queer has become a commodity. The palatable queer; safe for consumption by straight audiences. The Rose Festival strives to be a space to tell our stories in our own voices using and exploring our aesthetics. And while representation does matter, and we do need allies who include us in their work, we need a space where everybody is Queer and therefore Queer ceases to be the story leaving only amazing, boundary-pushing art. For 3 days in May, in Montreal, The Rose Festival strives to give Queer artists the opportunity to create and show their work without apologies, to speak in their full voices, to fully embrace their Queer identity without having to straighten or subdue their art in any way for an audience. Art from an array of disciplines — from ceramics to photographs to classical piano to a drag queen poet to a storyteller to movement based theatre to tango dancing to documentary sound art. Art that foregrounds the diversity within our community, but that also shares a common aesthetic that looks at how we connect and how we make meaning within those connections. We believe in a pay what you decide model to make our art accessible to all audiences, and make every effort to host in fully accessible spaces and enforce safe spaces policies at all of our events.
Our festival is small, but growing. In the next five years, we hope to acquire the financial stability to offer a week-long showing of queer creations, extending and encouraging the dialogue within the queer community and amongst queer artists and their allies. Eventually, we dream of the day that we can own an actual, physical space - a garden bed, if you will - within which queer bodies will know that they are safe, leaving queer minds free to explore and create, and queer hearts unfettered in their abilities to follow their passions and discover their unique aesthetic language.