Saturday 11 June 2011 saw the sixth annual Blackpool Pride festival, and of course it didn’t fail to disappoint. We saw the rainbow flag returned to the top of Blackpool Tower to mark the event and, in a break from the norm, we saw a march instead of a parade, due to the ongoing road works on the promenade – not that this stopped everyone getting into the spirit of things. It looked like about a hundred people took part in the march, with many more waiting at the end of the route at Blackpool’s famous North Pier.
Once onto the pier the event moved quickly into party mode, with everyone taking full advantage of the warm weather (in the areas that weren’t being battered by the wind) by having a good dance and enjoying themselves. The atmosphere was fantastic, and it gave us the perfect opportunity to catch up with people we’d not seen for a while, as well as meet a host of new faces we’d not seen before.
With drag queens at every turn we quickly moved on to the entertainment. First up on the main stage was a Lady Gaga tribute act, who (considering she wasn’t the real thing) really impressed the whole crowd. There was so much going on across the four stages we just couldn’t get to all of it, but we did dash back to the main stage later on to see the legend that is Toyah Wilcox – who doesn’t seem to have lost it – giving her all and getting the crowd going with all of her favourites.
After a Saturday night out in the pubs and clubs I’m sure there were a lot of people nursing a sizeable hangover. However, for those who managed to venture out, The Grundy Art Gallery played host to Pride Stride, a more cultural event that included an exhibition by the Anne Frank Trust called ‘Take a Stand’, designed to make young people think about standing up for equality. Also at The Grundy was Blackpool’s AuntySocial, a community arts group who were inviting people to make a patch with their own personal message on it to form part of a rainbow flag.
All in all, the weekend was another huge success for the LGBT community in Blackpool, and I for one was glad to be a part of it. In fact, I’m already looking forward to 2012 and the seventh Blackpool Pride!
You can visit the Official Blackpool Pride website at www.prideblackpool.com