‘This has been the most ambitious and most diverse Pride we’ve ever developed for the city. We’ve come from humble beginnings, responding to prejudice and homophobia, now we can celebrate in a city that is proud of its LGBT community. We know that Liverpoolis the most up-and-coming gay destination in the country and we want everyone to come on board and join us for the biggest party of the summer.’ Zoran Blackie, Chair of Liverpool Pride.
With a specialized ‘gay’ area of the city centre (in the form of Stanley Street Quarter) it’s safe to say that Liverpool is an incredibly welcoming and accepting city with regards to its blossoming LGBT community. As expected, Liverpool was due to celebrate this in style this summer with the annual Liverpool Pride Festival. Over 50,000 visitors took part this weekend, with the festival kicking off on Saturday 4th September 2012. This included local Liverpool residents, Gay Quarter regulars, night club drag queen personalities, Steven Gerrard, Alex Curran and much more. Gay, Straight, Bisexual, Transgender, people gathered at Stanley Street Quarter and the Pier Head to celebrate feeling proud of diversity.
Liverpool’s pride weekend is the biggest free pride event outside of our capital city,London, and they incorporated a ‘nautical but nice’ theme to cement its standing as one hell of an event. Thousands of sailor themed outfits stood amongst vibrant colours within the crowds, paying homage to the Titanic and Liverpool’s docking connections. The event also includes a whole host of arts and musical performances, as well as bars (open from 1pm!), food stalls and exhibitions on a larger scale than ever before. The festival’s larger size meant that Stanley Streetclosed its roads to traffic to allow for Pride-goers and music lovers alike to travel around the festival safely.
Perhaps the most poignant event of the weekend was that the pride march – the biggest event of the weekend – made history. For the first time, two huge premier league football clubs were represented, by members of the LFC women’s team, as well as staff and supporters of Liverpool and Everton. Local rivalries were set apart for the weekend to come together for such a wonderful cause. Angel Eagle, MP and patron was also at the helm of the profession too, to heighten the strength of the support from the front onwards. The procession saw the LGBT community, their friends, and their families took to the streets to showcase their support and acceptance. The procession started at midday from William Brown Streetand proceeded along Lime Street, Queen’s Square Bus Station, Whitechapel, Lord Street, North John Street, and James Street– until it crossed to the Strand and Mann Island, the final stops before ending in front of the main stage at Pier Head. It is at the latter where the afternoon’s entertainment and events began. The atmosphere was alive with a celebratory atmosphere, and a buzz of excitement over the effort that went in to creating such a landmark event.
On the Stanley Street Quarter Stage on the Saturday, Layla Flaherty (Desperate Scousewives) played host to the crowds, and introduced a series of exciting DJ sets and performances from resident DJs from each of theStanley Streetbars. Each played their part in keeping the crowd alive and dancing from mid afternoon until late into the night. Amongst these performances were Craig Cavanagh, Nikkie Belle, and Jem – who has been known to perform with incredible names in the music industry such as James Brown and Elvis Costello.
The Pier Head played host to the ‘It’s Liverpool’ which ran in coordination with the Liverpool radio station Juice.Fm. The stage entertained the masses from 1-8pm and included a headlining performance from Marcus Collins, who recently reached the X Factor finals. Liz McLarnon, Jessica Wright (of The Only Way is Essex fame), 2 Shoes, The Bon Bonz, Concrete Rose, Concept, Future Kicks, On the Line, Sarah Whatmore (Pop Idol), JNay (X Factor), Sam Clark and Bradley Johnson also took to the stage, joining Marcus in sharing their support for the pride community. It was incredible to see such a fantastic showcase of Liverpool talent, especially as the stage was opened by Dance Dynamix, a Liverpoo lsensation. Juice.FM DJs, Desperate Scousewives personalities and some of the Hollyoaks cast also joined the festivities, peppering the performances with their crowd reaction to keep the crowd going between sets.
If that wasn’t enough, the party rang throughout the night. Clubs such as Pink and G-Bar were absolutely packed with party goers, making for one of the most successful Liverpoolpride events to date. Sunday, though quieter, continued the success by providing quieter activities after the festivities of the day previous. Tate Liverpool held a ‘Big Gay Brunch’, whilst the Bluecoat opened up ‘Gay Gardens,’ Perhaps most fitting of all, Love Music Hate Homophobia held a closing event at Leaf on Bold Street. Whilst more chilled out than anything, the music and entertainment let home grown talent shine through whilst raising money for the Michael Causer Foundation. The foundation raised money for their cause, to provide LGBT individuals with accommodation and support when they’re in need. This came to fruition following the devastating murder of Causer at just eighteen years old. We believe, here at Phestival, that the weekend went down with enormous success and know that everyone involved achieved everything they set out to.
Did you go to Liverpool Pride, or any other Pride event this weekend? Tweet us at @Phestival_Com and let us know what you thought!