IT’S been confrmed what all of those in attendance already knew: this was Liverpool’s biggest and best Pride. The march alone attracted 10,000 people and the overall event saw numbers in excess of 50,000.
This year’s theme #AllTogetherNow was chosen to promote unity for the LGBT+ and wider community – and this was evident with the highest visitor numbers on record.
The weekend’s programme was officially started on Saturday (28 July) with the ninth annual Liverpool Pride March in association with the Mayor of Liverpool, led by family and friends of Michael Causer, who was tragically killed in 2008.
A crowd of 10,000 LGBT+ supporters – including groups from Merseyside Police, Liverpool City Council, and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service – gathered at St George’s Hall before weaving their way through the city streets to Moorfields while flying the Rainbow flag. It was easily the largest Liverpool Pride March to date.
The programme of Pride fun then continued across three stages at the Tithebarn Street festival hub, taking the event back to its roots and into the city’s Gay Quarter.
Crowds were entertained throughout the day by a vast array of talent, flocking to stages presented by headline sponsor Barclays with the Barclays Main Stage; the Manchester Airport San Francisco stage; and the Manchester Airport Boston Bar hosted by sponsor Manchester Airport and curated by the Liverpool Queer Collective.
Entertainment included international drag star and Celebrity Big Brother winner Courtney Act, House of Suarez, Rogue Minogue, Queen Zee and headline act Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
Liverpool Pride events continued on Sunday (29 July) with the Pride Sundae festival hub at the Bluecoat.
The venue became a hive of activity for young people and families which saw dancers from across the city taking part in an epic dance-off brought together by Nazene Danielle’s Dance Dynamix; a wealth of craft activities from Blueroom, the Bluecoat’s project for learning disabled adults; and DJ’s from Mode training took over the Bistro to provide chill-out sounds to help everyone relax and wind down.
Shining a light on LGBT+ lives and civil rights, there was also a programme of talks, displays, and arts and crafts at venues across the city including The Walker Art Gallery, Open Eye Gallery, The International Slavery Museum and Museum of Liverpool.
Liverpool Pride Festival co-chairs John Bird and Andi Herring commented: “What an incredible weekend for putting the Liverpool Pride Festival on the map and more importantly, what a fantastic celebration of our LGBT+ community. So much hard work has gone into developing this year’s event with planning for the new site, and we’re delighted to see it work so well.
“To watch the crowds grow and grow as we gathered at St George’s Hall before our biggest ever Liverpool Pride March made its way through the city was extremely emotional for everyone. The atmosphere was truly special throughout the day.
“Liverpool Pride would like to say a heartfelt and sincere thank you to everyone who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, the support of this year’s sponsors, our army of dedicated volunteers and, of course, everyone who attended throughout the weekend and celebrated LGBT+ in a fun, safe and unforgettable way.”
The success of this year’s Liverpool Pride was complemented by a number of events which ran alongside the festival during the month.
In its third year, Come Out of the Shadows campaign saw a number of iconic and public buildings across Liverpool City Region being illuminated in the colours of the Rainbow and Trans flags in solidarity for the LGBT+ community. Buildings include St John’s Beacon, Anfield, St Georges Hall and Liverpool Town Hall. The initiative continues until 2 August.
Other highlights included LGBT+ drama comedy The Ruby Slippers at Liverpool’s Royal Court; Grin Theatre’s annual Queertet at The Casa; as well as Pride at the Pictures who presented All About My Mother and Divine Divas, in association with Brazilica.
Businesses across the city also showed their support for Liverpool Pride by flying the official supporter flag from their venues, including Novotel, Hanover Street, Aloft Liverpool Hotel, North John Street, Maray, Bold Street and FACT, Wood Street.