Words by Ed King
On Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th May, Birmingham Pride 2018 takes over the Gay Village in Birmingham City Centre – with the main festival taking place in venues and open spaces across Hurst Street, Kent Street and Lower Essex Street.
The ‘Be You’ Birmingham Pride 2018 Carnival Parade will be held on Saturday 26th May, starting in Victoria Square and winding its way down to the festival site entrance at the Hippodrome end of Hurst Street – via New Street, Carrs Lane and Smallbrook Queensway. People can assemble in Victoria Square from 10:30am, with the Parade beginning at 12noon.
Participation in the ‘Be You’ Birmingham Pride 2018 Carnival Parade is free and open to all ages, with a variety of individual day and weekend tickets available for the main Birmingham Pride 2018 festival. For direct event information, including details on all the venues and acts taking part in Birmingham Pride 2018, click here or check out the online Pride Guide below.
Birmingham Pride, as we know it today, is celebrating 21 years on the city’s cultural calendar. The first Pride rally took place in Birmingham in 1972, a week after London hosted the inaugural event to mirror the North American based originals. But Birmingham Pride has moved from the more politically charged, and necessarily so, declaration of solidarity to a broadly inclusive event with both unity and entertainment at its heart.
Mercifully, the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community in the UK have arguably tempered and evolved since the institutionalised bigotry of yesteryear. Not to say there isn’t work still to be done, and attitudes yet to challenge and change, but the annual Birmingham Pride events feel much more like a citywide celebration than a daring public stance from a brave but maligned community. Plus, they’re just awesome fun. Tell me where else you’re going to see a rainbow display of Disney characters and Norse Gods drinking cider and dancing to Livin’ Joy? Tins Tins ‘aint open anymore, so…
And in keeping with inclusivity, this year theme for the Birmingham Pride events is ‘Be You’ – which is quite a clear and simple message. And knowing a few of the wonderfully warped minds that stalk our city I can’t wait to see the costumes for this one.
But what’s on stage? Too much to go through with a toothcomb, but the Main Stage Saturday acts include the all kinds of awesome Beth Ditto, our favourite footballer’s ex-wife Louise, followed by the Spotify smashing Kim Petras and Birmingham’s own Stefflon Don.
Sunday goes back to the glory days of 90’s House with Baby D, Kym Mazelle and Livin’ Joy, before pop stalwart Howard Jones and Scissor Sisters’ frontman Jake Shears close off the live sets. But never fear dear hearts, you’ve got DJ sets from Rudimental and Paul Morrell to round it all off. Can’t complain.
And if dance music is your thing then you’re in luck, with Birmingham Pride 2018 hosting its own Dance Arena featuring DJs and acts including Lisa Sharred, The Acid Experiment, Low Steppa, Tom Shorterz, Jamie Bull, Hooker Club, Gorgon City and DJ zine amongst others. Plus, there’s every venue on and within a stone’s throw of Hurst Street pitching in with pretty much something for everyone’s dancefloor.
Birmingham Pride 2018 also has its cabaret Marquee, hosting a catalogue of the fabulous, outrageous and fabulously outrageous from Saturday to Sunday. And whilst there are a few names we though might be on the bill that aren’t, especially against the burgeoning new backdrop of Birmingham’s drag and performance art community, there are enough familiar faces to ensure a riot in all the right places – including Ginny Lemon, Miss Penny, Tanya Hyde, Miss Thunderpussy, Amy La Queefa, Glitter Lips, Drag With No Name, Champagne Shirley, and, of course, Twiggy.
Loads more going on at Birmingham Pride 2018 than we have the time, space or typing speed to squeeze into this BPREVIEW – but sufficed to say there’s something for people of all ages, gender, musical tastes and hat size. But luckily, we don’t have to as the festival organisers have given us a handy online Pride Guide – see below.
From everyone at Birmingham Review, we wish you a safe and happy Birmingham Pride 2018.
Birmingham Pride 2018 – Pride Guide
Birmingham Pride 2018 takes over the Gay Village in Birmingham City Centre on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th May, with the ‘Be You’ Birmingham Pride 2018 Carnival Parade taking place at 12noon on the Saturday.
For direct event information, including details on all the venues and acts taking part in Birmingham Pride 2018, visit www.birminghampride.com