Words by Ed King / Lead & parade pics by Michelle Martin (taken from Birmingham Pride 2015)
On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May, Birmingham Pride is back in the city – taking over various venues in Birmingham Gay Village (on and around Hurst Street) for their ‘Big Weekender’.
Tickets will need to be purchased, then exchanged or a wristband allowing you onto the main festival site. Advance tickets will be available from The Nightingale Club (Kent St) on Thursday 25 May from 4pm – 12midnight, then again on Friday 26 May from 12noon until 12midnight.
Wristbands can be bought over the Pride weekend, priced as: Weekend £40, Day £30, Pride by night (9pm onwards) £20. For direct information on tickets/wristbands, including full details on when, where and for how much, click here.
So unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know what Birmingham Pride is. If you don’t, then move you and your stone abode into the new millennium. Seriously, one of Birmingham biggest parties – with a parade that is possibly the only place outside of Shambala where you’ll see more hairy fishnets than… some joke about sailors and a haberdashery shop.
Awesome fun what/whomever your predilections, Birmingham Pride is in its 21st year – picking up the mantle from previous mirror events to the London Pride, that ran sporadically in Brum from the early 70’s. Birmingham Pride as we know it today is a two day extravaganza, held on five separate festival stages with a deluge of fun and games in pretty much every bar within a stone’s throw of Hurst St.
Plus Birmingham Pride 2017 marks the 50th anniversary since you can’t get locked up for being homosexual, kinda sorta. As long as you kept yourself behind closed doors. But ten years after the Wolfenden Report was published the Sexual Offences Act finally made it through parliament – repealing the draconian laws against homosexuality, as made by Henry VIII (oh yes, we move that fast…) and the 1885 Labouchere Amendment.
Even whilst being molasses slow, this was the first important step in challenging the discriminatory attitudes… sorry, publicly discriminatory attitudes of Britain’s political class when it came to consensual sex between men. Apparently Lesbians weren’t as threatening to the fabric of a decent, God fearing society.
And whilst 50 years is still not that long a time, the tide had to start somewhere; thank fuck, God bless, and another reason to raise a glass in the air this weekend.
Here’s a maraschino cherry pick from across Birmingham Pride 2017:
Saturday 27th May
Pride Parade 2017 / Assembling in Victoria Square from 11am, ready to ‘wind its way’ through the city and down to the festival site, the Birmingham Pride Parade is as colouful an explosion as you can get. Celebrating half a century of less nonsense, Birmingham Pride have set the theme of Love & Pride for this year’s show of solidarity.
If you want to get involved or enter a float, you might just have some time too – click here for more info.
Duo Lipa / Headlining the Main Stage, the English born singer/ songwriter and model will be releasing her debut album about a week after Birmingham Pride – with Birmingham Pride of the only chances to see her perform before an international festival season takes her out of England until October.
Basement Jaxx – DJ set / Exciting enough even when it’s just Felix, Simon and a box of vinyl (or whatever the kids are spinning these days) Basement Jaxx will be DJing a headline slot on the Main Stage. With a pretty stella discography of club hits and foot stamping dance floor anthems, stretching back to 1994, Basement Jaxx have been purveyors of the Big-Beat-Disco-House sound for longer than there was a name to call it. I could run through a list if you need me to, but I won’t – just Google ‘Red Alert’ then crawl back under your rock.
Other names to watch out for on the Saturday line up are: Rue Jay (Dance Arena), Tanya Hyde (Cabaret Marquee), Amy La Queefa (Women’s Arena), Ellé Robertson (Women’s Arena), Sandi G (Dance Arena), Topping & Butch (Cabaret Arena), Son of a Tutu (Cabaret Marquee), Jonas Blue (Main Stage), Louisa Johnson (Main Stage), RAYE (Main Stage), Pete Graham (Dance Arena), Jamie Duggan (Dance Arena), DJ Lisa Sharred (Women’s Arena).
Sunday 28th May
Twiggy / Clubland legend and fashion designer for the bastard child of Ziggy Stardust and Tinkerbelle, Twiggy will be performing in the Cabaret Marquee on the weekend’s second day. If you haven’t been hit on or refused entry by this local luminary of lustre and sparkles, then you should have gone out more. Wouldn’t be a proper party without Twiggy’s extravagant headdress bobbing around somewhere in the crowd.
Call Me Unique / The Urban Gypsy comes back to Birmingham Pride, performing a last day live set in the Women’s Arena. Hot on the heels of her new Urban Gypsy II EP, Call Me Unique is touring her new material across the UK and mainland Europe. Always worth a stop, look & listen, you can read more about Call Me Unique as seen through the eyes of Birmingham Review here.
Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon / Born out of the festival cabaret circuit the Late Night Pop Dungeon is a den of musical iniquity where Wales’ Voice of an Angel gets to dirty her wings one tip at a time. Pop classics to contemporary hits, from MIA to Sufjan Steven, Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon looks hella fun – no pun intended. Now on tour across the UK, it’s hard to think of a better booking for Birmingham Pride’s Sunday crowd.
For more on Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon at Birmingham Pride, click here.
Other names to watch out for on the Saturday line up are: Vicki Vivacious (Marquee Arena), Zara Sykes (Women’s Arena), Gabrielle (Main Stage), Jamelia (Main Stage), Sophie Ellis-Bextor (Main Stage), Boney M (Main Stage), Kissy Sell Out (Dance Arena), Marc Spence (Dance Arena), Tom Shorterz (Dance Arena), Todd Terry (Dance Arena), D.E. Experience (Marquee Arena), Miss Penny (Cabaret Marquee), Madi Saskia (Women’s Arena).
Birmingham Pride takes place from 27-8th May, with the main festival situated on Hurst Street. The Birmingham Pride Parade will leave Victoria Square at 12noon on Saturday 27th May – heading for the festival site on Hurst Street.
For more on Birmingham Pride, including the festival’s full line up and layout, visit www.birminghampride.com