Words by Patrick Cawley
The UK’s most hotly anticipated pride event is fast approaching, so having attended, performed at, and organised many aspects of the festivities for the past 15 years. I thought I would share with you my guide to a fabulous weekend of pure pride.
Firstly, planning your weekend, you need; sunscreen, lots of snacks, a cute fragrance, worn-in shoes, water / refillable bottles – some areas of Preston park, and many bars, coffee shops, and other venues are offering free water refills throughout the weekend, remember to write down an emergency contact on paper as well bringing a charger and battery back up, your card AND some cash, and please make sure to bring good vibes only, and maybe some glitter!
Honey Dijon performs at Brighton Pride 2023
The Pride Community Parade is essential, I just love all of it, we will see over 300,000 people hit our streets in unity, as we celebrate our city’s charities, community groups and small businesses. as well as huge supermarkets, the NHS and media organisations. The united carnival of colour will soak up everywhere from Hove Lawns all the way through to the big event, Fabulouso in Preston Park.
Preston park will see a whopping 50,000 and more LGBTQIA+ supporters and members of the community flood the greenery with their glitter, flags and good vibes for what is set to be, yet again, one of the biggest outdoor events of the UK this summer, along with Glastonbury. First up, let’s do the big headliners; as most you know, previously we have been lucky enough to secure slots from the likes of Kylie Minogue, Christina Aguilera, Years & Years, and as many of you know, my personal career highlight, being the 2018 warm up DJ to 52,000 people and mixing into the intro music for the iconic global super star that is Britney Spears! And this year is no exception to the enormity of artists appearing, with double headliners Black Eyed Peas, and STEPS are set to get the ground shaking for that highly sought after headline slot on respective days. And warming up for them will be the incredibly talented Mel C, Zara Larson, B*Witched and many many more.
Brighton Pride Village Party
The Noughty Nineties Festival Stage is back, bigger and better than ever. I can’t reveal too much, but believe me when I say it’s going to be an amplified and improved take on last year’s stage where myself, N Trance, Phats and Small, Strike and many other artists performed. We are lucky enough to have the already announced Honey Dijon, Sonique, Baby D and Rozalla gearing up to produce epic live shows for the ‘touch-wood’ sunshine soaked party goers. There are actually more than 15 areas and stages over the weekend. For me, this one is a glistening highlight.
Along our gorgeous LGBTQIA+ UK capital seafront it is so imperative that we must all remember to support our local queer safe spaces throughout the years as well as pride. Our famous social scene will have tonnes on over the weekend, from Stephanie Von-C hosting the Marine Tavern stage, to the Queens Arms offering so much live entertainment. Younger readers will be well looked after at Revenge and R bar for after hour shenanigans. Charles Street Tap, with its gorgeous cocktails, great food and impressive architecture will be the home of many DJ sets as well as the home of the outside street party stage, an iconic element of Brighton Pride as everyone dances the day and night away. Legends will be hosting the incredible cabaret tent in the park, seeing the insanely talented Davina Sparkle, Cosmic, Pixie Polite, Rose Garden, Sally Vate, Marsha Mallow and many more of our cities shining stars, and also they will host a pretty much 72 hour safe place hot spot of DJs, drag artists and a huge rainbow fund charity fundraiser on the Sunday night followed by myself DJing in the club under the fresh aroma of sweat and tequila, (i’m looking at you, Mrs Moore) for those of you who have survived the sparkling carnage.
The Black Eyed Peas
On a budget? YHA had availability in both Brighton and Shoreham just down the road from £35 per night, and campsites including the official pride camp site are still taking bookings, a low income ticket scheme is in operation from the official pride website. The Real Junk Food Project Brighton are offering bags of food that they have saved from waste on a pay as you feel basis all week in Leybourne Parade, and many of our nightlife hot spots are offering free / discretional charity donation entry.
Donate to the charity buckets as and when you can. Last year, Brighton Pride raised £220,000 for the Rainbow Fund, enabling our groups such as MindOut, Men Talk Health, Trans Pride, and The Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard to carry out their incredible support to our community. Please give what you can. Also remember, pride isn’t just a party, it’s a protest, a message, an expression of freedom amidst an increasingly backwards and hostile world. People are being vilified, cancelled, bullied, also killed for being who they are.