Stammafest experience by Venkatesh
What a surreal feeling it was!
This being my first time in the UK and my first world conference, I did not know what to expect. Having been a part of the Stamily community, I knew that the Stammafest would be a fun-filled one as most of my friends from the Stamily community were going to be there. I was looking forward to this conference over the past 3 months and was excited to finally get there. I, along with Jurjen, Willemijn, and Leo were traveling from London to Liverpool by train for Stammafest and when we were discussing Stammafest we got to know 3 ‘strangers’, who were sitting around us, who were also going to Stammafest. This was at the point I realized the enormity of this ‘fest’. I loved how all the arrangements were made in terms of accommodation, food, and activities. The first day was the welcome evening at the Crypt and I was surprised to see so many people with a stutter in one place. I have never felt so comfortable speaking to people at social events. The next day was one packed with a lot of interesting and fun activities. It was my first time where I was courageous enough to give a workshop along with Dave van Burik on Body Language and Stuttering. I enjoyed the workshop thoroughly and it made me feel a lot more confident to face an audience. Day 3 was all about interacting with the folks at the fest and exploring the beauties of Liverpool. The fourth day was about attending interactive workshops, playing football, and partying all night long. Probably one of the best parties I have been a part of. The highlight of the fifth day was the quiz night arranged by Stamma. Though we didn’t make it to the top three, it was a night where I got to interact closely with a lot of people whom I would not have known before the quiz. The sixth day was quite an emotional one when I participated in the open mic. It felt incredible to speak in front of 107 people. The last night was a grand one to finish off with a buffet with 9 people who stutter at a Brazilian restaurant. Being a part of Stammafest global made me feel that it is a privilege to have a stutter/stammer and a revenge on all of my childhood trauma about my “stutter”. Eagerly looking forward to the next one! 🙂