7 November 2013

Extra dates for Pride weekend?

Brighton’s Preston Park could stage extra events on Pride weekend next August to help the festival raise more for local charities - as well as meeting its infrastructure costs.

A report to the culture committee recommends councillors grant landlords’ consent to stage the Pride parade through the city plus the ticket-only festival in Preston Park on Saturday August 2, 2014.  Councillors are also being asked to approve subsequent events in 2015 and 2016.

Unusually, for next year, the council is also looking at a proposal from the Pride Community Interest Company to add events in Preston Park on the Friday and Sunday as well. 

A council report suggests the Friday event could be one not specifically aimed at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.  This could be an onstage show in the main tent, with ticketed seating for 1800.

One idea mooted for the Sunday is an outdoor ‘proms’-type concert linked to commemorations of the outbreak of WW1.  However no decisions have yet been made.

This year saw one of the most successful local Pride events, raising some £43,000 for LGBT charities.  Around 160,000 residents and visitors took part.  But organisers feel the event would be on a sounder financial footing and raise more cash if extra dates were staged.

Chair of the culture committee Cllr Geoffrey Bowden said:  “The council is very keen that Pride succeeds and raises lots of money for local LGBT charities. So we’re looking at these ideas, aimed at helping them recover more of their costs and generate more for those charities supporting and delivering vital services to the local LGBT community.

“Extra dates would give an opportunity to stage events attracting audiences beyond the LGBT community, and perhaps wider age groups.  We are looking to do much to remember the sacrifices of WW1 next year so the suggestion for a related event on the Sunday is a good one for the committee to consider.”

The report recommends that councillors allow the main Pride event on the Saturday to extend its hours.  If agreed it would run from 10am to 10pm instead of the previous noon to 8pm. Officials believe the altered timings would help ease the pressure for people accessing the park at the start of the celebrations and remove the ‘rush hour’ at the end by extending the closing time.  This would allow people to head back into the city centre over a longer period.

The culture committee meets to consider the report on November 14.