Manchester, London and Brighton; Britain’s big three when it comes to Pride festivals, days out, big weekends – whatever you want to call it. But for years, Birmingham hasn’t quite matched the upper reaches of Pride royalty.
Fast forward 2013; Birmingham Pride is now in that category. Boasting an unrivalled line up not to bettered by any Pride this year, 75,000 people dressed in their Saturday best descended on a sun-drenched Southside; a vibrant and rejuvenated part of Brum’s city centre.
Whether it be viewing Topman’s summer collection, getting rather intoxicated or becoming a political tour-de-force – Pride means something different to everyone. For me, it’s a mixture of all of those things.
Rather wrongly, Brum Pride isn’t deemed as relevant or as prominent as it’s bedfellows. Yet, this wonderful weekend has grown not over time, but in one huge burst. From drag Eurovision flops and unheard of 90’s crooners looking for one last pay check; now the likes of the quirky Paloma Faith, deep house diva A*M*E and the soon-to-be-departed JLS can be persuaded to come and whirl the drooling revellers in to a state of disco delirium. That’s certainly what happened.
For many Pride virgins, this year’s wristband-only entry provided a safe and welcoming community sprit perhaps missing from previous years. What we are blessed with in Birmingham is a togetherness and solidarity celebrating just who we are. Five years ago, you wouldn’t get people making the jaunt to the Midlands – now; you’d be lucky to hear a Brummie accent (unless you have a cold, then you can be an honorary one for the weekend).
The Rio-style carnival parade kicked off proceedings, led by celebrated human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. The theme couldn’t be more apparent. #EqualLove was the message cast loud and clear. Celebrating the recent Common’s vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, Tatchell declared, “The battle for marriage equality is almost won but not quite. We are still striving for equal love rights.”
A true Pride event encapsulates the legacy of Pride’s gone by and the rousing atmosphere of the modern day Pride’s. Birmingham has grabbed both, thoughtfully threaded them together and created a truly fabulous weekend.