In a little over a month Birmingham will once again play host to the UK’s largest two day LGBT Pride festival which is sure to be the city’s biggest, loudest, most outrageous party of the year. With the US passing laws restricting the rights of LGBT people, Russia allowing vigilante action violent against gay teenagers, and over seventy countries still criminalizing homosexuality it’s humbling to remember that we in the UK enjoy brilliant human rights, allowing us to be who we are, love whom we want to love, and celebrate that freedom and diversity publicly.
This year’s Birmingham Pride Festival is to be held over the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend on Saturday 28 May and Sunday 29 May. The festival takes ‘Generation of Pride’ as its theme to coincide with the events 20th year. It features a dance arena, cabaret marquee, funfair and women’s arena, in addition to a host of community stalls and refreshments.
Although it’s an LGBT festival, I’ve yet to meet a non-LGBT attendee who hasn’t enjoyed the spectacle, the wonderful music, cabaret, and general party atmosphere. Birmingham tweeter-about-town Simon Steggles said:
“Pride is such a fun festival! Friends suggested I would enjoy it, so my wife and I watched the spectacle of the parade from Victoria Square and spent the full day on Saturday in the gay village. Brilliant music, a great atmosphere, and very rude hilarious cabaret – we’ll be there again this year!”
Every year the line up seems to get better and better. The acts are still being announced, but here’s some edited highlights.
- Lisa Stansfield will perform hits including the 1989 worldwide No.1 ‘All Around The World’
- 90’s chart toppers Venga Boys performing Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom! (The nineties were a difficult decade, no?!)
- X-Factor’s Fleur East
- and X-Factor’s Lucy Spraggan
- The line up also includes: MNEK, DJ Fresh, Karen Harding, 99 Souls, Anne Marie and others.
The cabaret tent will be hosted by the most irreverent Sandra and Miss Marty.
- Headlining will be Willam Belli – American actor, drag queen, model, recording artist, recognisable from recurring role as trans-woman Cherry Peck in Nip/Tuck, from appearing as a contestant on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and from the viral video “Boy is a Bottom” (video here, NSFW).
- Topping & Butch will be bringing topical comedy lyrics while dressed in skin tight leather, as always
- Crowd favourites Lola Lasagne, Miss Penny, Lady Imelda, Tanya Hyde, Son of a Tutu, Baga Chipz and others will be offering more outrageous camp drag
- Vicky Jackson will be performing as Pink and
- Kelly Wilde will be belting out hits including Gloria.
Headling the dance tent will be Ms Dynamite
Other sets include:
- Jaguar Skills
- 99 Souls
- Donkie Punch
- Rue Jay
- Pete Graham & JME George
We’ve had such fun at Birmingham Pride over the last few years, with a marked improvement on atmosphere since it became a ticketed event. As well as the ticket price paying for the festival infrastructure, over the past two years Pride has donated more than £85,000 to 22 midlands-based LGBT charities. Tickets are available from the Birmingham Pride 2016 website, here:
Official Website: http://www.birminghampride.com/
Official Tickets: https://www.theticketsellers.co.uk/tickets/birmingham-pride-2016/10038743
On the same weekend, you can sample the venues outside the Pride event cordons which have a range of events planned.
Eden Bar has a full weekend line-up including Marc Almond, Andrea Fasutini, Kevin Simm, 4th Impact, Sam Bailey, La Voix & Va Va Voom Boys.
The Core Club will host XXL Birmingham on Friday night and then Urban Slag on Sunday.
Drink, dance, be merry, and play safe!
See you there.