Worthing Pride 2023 – 7-8/07

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A great grass roots pride event, only in its second fully operation year in its current format has just wrapped up the 2023 celebrations and I am here to tell you what you missed and why you should consider this lovely weekend event for your 2024 social calendar.

Friday night I popped along to the event with my gorgeous colleague Nate Evans from Gaydio Brighton, she was serving as the hostess with mostest! Engaging with everyone and introducing all of the talent flawlessly, and we hung out with our lovely friends from Phats & Small, and N-Trance backstage, as you can probably already tell, this was about to turn into a big dance party! Attendee numbers were moderate, but there was a lovely sense of pride, and anticipation building. A luscious scent of Molly & Tommy Fruity Gin slushy cocktails sweetened up the mood, food stalls prepared great locally produced snacks and many local businesses and charities greeted guests from their marquees at either side.

One small hiccup occurred when Nadia and Cherise from ‘BootyLuv’ called to say they were having unexpected delays and may not make it until 11pm, the park closed by then, by the pride team got their problem solving hats on quickly and we arranged it so that the girls could come and perform alongside me and my DJ set at the official after party round the corner at Angels Bar. The venue was one that I wasn’t familiar with and has recently been refurbished and relaunched and I must say it was impressive, we entered into a small ish bar that then lead onto a huge cavernous club area and glamorous VIP booths upstairs. The staff and customers here couldn’t have been more welcoming to all of us guests, we were well looked after and felt as though we were in an established & professional LGBTQ+ safe space! The girls belted out all of the hits to an intimate but highly excited crowd & we danced through until 3am.

Saturday saw high storms coming in so the parade was slightly delayed as was the park opening but, again, the team soon sprung into action, sorting all the electrics and infrastructure at the park as well as insuring that the beautifully colourful parade could sprinkle its magic all over central Worthing. There would be more artist no shows & lateness later as well as last minute changes and I will say that Worthing Pride was very unlucky in having so much of this, however, they did their best to keep the vibes happy and the sense of celebration unwavering!

The eclectic line up for the weekend was actually really nice for such a smaller scaled pride, Austin Armacost, Paul Davies & Nate Evans hosting energy was infectiously joyous, they even did impromptu catwalks. Q&A’s, and danced to camp classics on stage. Miggy Dela Rosa brought things bang up to trend with current bops & 2022 top 10 hit ‘Ferrari’ after Sam and the Womp got everyone dancing to 2012 number 1 single “Bom Bom’, Jaymi Hensely was absolutely electric and then it was coming up to Headline Slot time where crowds were ready to ‘All Rise’ for Superstar Boyband BLUE. Everyone knew all of the words screamed emphatically and danced their little socks off.

I had the pleasure of spending some time with one of my absolute favourite pop performers, the queer icon hunk that is Mr Duncan James, we have worked together and hung out many many times through the years, and I sat down to ask him how it feels to be riding this wave of hyper renewed popularity, Duncan told me.

“Yeah we have been blessed to be really busy and I’m also busy filming gogglebox with the fab Denise Van Outen, and I just finished filming the most insane programme ever; Celebrity Hunted with Christine McGuiness which has been insane and isn’t out until next year but yeah I’ve been so busy Patrick… its so lovely to be back at Worthing Pride because last year I performed as party of my drag show.. and this year they have asked me back to perform with Blue, very much not in drag, much to everyones relief, so yeah we are gonna be performing all of this with the boys”

“Its great because we are quite a nostalgic band, we were lucky enough to churn out many many hits that are still kind of evergreen, people still love to sing along to them all now, and I think it brings back a certain memory, people come up to tell us how much they love it all and that we are usually bringing back these memories”

After the rapturous applause for the encore of the Gold-Certified ‘One Love’ I asked Duncan why Worthing Pride was so lovely and what does pride mean to Duncan, whilst sorting out his gorgeous outfit & flexing those muscly arms he told me

“You’ve got to come out and support your local prides, its all about inclusivity, celebrating the LGBTQ plus, and getting everyone there to celebrate the wonderful meaning of pride and to enjoy some fabulous music and just have a wonderful gay old time”

Worthing pride triumphed at showcasing a diverse mix of East Sussex’s best vibrant talent, as well as myself (Brightons finest pop DJ, wink wink) we had a powerhouse performance of Disco-Dance gorgeousness from the fantastic Osaro debuting new music as well as recent dance floor anthem ‘Disco Moon’ to a fantastically supportive crowd. Our finest Drag circuit queens were present too, the iconic Davina Sparkle, Rupauls Drag Race’s Anubis Finch, the energetic diva Glew The Queen, to name but a few.

Tickets started from as little a tenner if you got a super early bird one , so this Pride event really was amazing value. Delicious food & drink stalls, events for all the family, a gorgeous parade, lovely afterparty venue & incredible mix of big celeb names and local queer talent on the main stage. To the Worthing Team; you really should be PROUD! I will definitely be back for 2024 and look forward to how this event builds onwards and upwards.

Got an East Sussex Pride craving catch me at Brighton Pride August 5th and 6th, tickets available at Brighton-pride.org. And Crawley Pride August 19th, tickets available at crawleylgbt.com. Worthing pride will be back 5th and 6th July 2024 with early bird discounted tickets going on sale September 1st from worthingpride.com

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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