DJ Patch On Crawley Pride

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Crawley Pride 2023 took over the city on August 19th so, naturally, I was there to witness the gorgeousness, DJ, and catch up with some fabulous people. 

10am the Parade kicks off from Memorial Square. Glitter, Banners and chanting fill the town centre streets until all of the participants, from key workers and charities to local businesses descend upon Goffs Park.

This is Crawley’s third time having this ticketed pride event and there is so much that they’re doing right! Firstly ticket prices are so affordable, if you get in early they’re as little as a tenner! And for that you get so much entertainment, community spirit, and joy. Tonnes of Crawley and East Sussex’s local talent take to the parades the park, and the afterparty at the incredible BAR 7, from Mary Hinge and Carmelle Toe, to Tomisa and Seb, to Billy Carr and DMT school. Rupauls’ Drag Race UK season 4 break out and East Sussex based Pixie Polite had the highly sort after 8pm Drag Show slot, after pixie telling me what an honor it was to be asked to appear at the event I asked Pixie what their pride message 2023 is, Pixie told me

“My pride message for 2023 is: We cannot be complacent. The LGBTQ+ community is currently under attack from all sides. This culture war means that our rights and safety are slowly being questioned and threatened. First they came for Trans people, and now this hateful rhetoric and violence is bleeding into the wider LGBTQ+ community. With violent homophobic stabbings in London just last week we cannot be complacent. If part of our community is threatened it leaves a open door for bigots and fascists to attack us all, so we must come together as a community, no matter which letter of the LGBTQ+ acronym you belong, and especially our straight and cis ally’s. With the rise of the far right in America, Italy and across the world, it’s time to wake the sleeping dragon of the Queer liberation movement of yesteryear and once again fight together for the rights of all, no matter who you are. Don’t be complacent”… 

Within the grounds of Goffs Park we find everything we need for a perfect pride, grassroots charities such as Mind Out are spreading their incredibly important messages, local arts, crafts and gifts are on sale, amazing local food its served, including crepes with Nutella! Yum! And Crawley’s bars are present within the park including the incredible independent LGBTQ plus bar and safe space; BAR 7, not only are they key players in getting the pride going, they’re in the Parade in the morning, then in the park all day serving and looking after everyone, then they host the big ultimate pride after party, which this year featured cabaret from our gorgeous miss Tanya Hyde singing her heart out to some abba whilst telling stories of pure filth and joy, whilst I busted out a pride pop playlist in the club area upstairs; everything from Tina and Whitney to Ariana and Gaga.

Liberty X girls headlined the park event, and as always they were just incredible, they’re so energetic, so into iy, so kind & humble and honestly I just gush over them every time I get to spend time with the girls and see the greatest hits show. Before joining in with some ’Sexyyyyy’ Cane choreography with the girls backstage I got to chat to them about their flair and pride icon status.

I asked the girls what is the secret to staying eternally fabulous?

Jessica Taylor told me “The fact that we are still doing so many gigs forces us to be fabulous’ ‘I think we are so lucky with our songs, I think that twenty years later they still slap and I think that’s what’s beautiful when we go on stage is seeing everyone singing the words”

Kelli Young added “The secret is our friendship, we all just love each other and love doing it together and it is genuinely all just brilliant”

Then I asked Michelle Heaton how it feels to be headlining such a brilliant pride event in 2023, she said “Im super super grateful, and just really looking forward to it, it’s such an honour to be the headliner here but it’s an honour to be asked to be at any pride because we love it so much”

Crawley Pride 2023 was a sheer triumph, from ticket sales and charitable fundraising, to a stellar and diverse line up, to the general good vibes that filled the air along with that sweet scent of fresh crepes! The team really should feel so proud, as I did to be invited to be a part of such a glorious day. Organizer Vincent Wooton told me

“Crawley Pride is having such a positive impact on our town. The event is run by the community, for the community, and really does impact so many people’s lives throughout the year. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved, but especially to our volunteers”

Crawley Pride is set to return the third weekend of August 2024.tickets will be available from crawleylgbt.com in October for super early bird prices.

Words by Patrick Cawley

 

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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