The theme of this year’s festival – in recognition of the 50-year anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales – is “Love Happens Here.” The festival runs from 24 June to 9 July. Organisers promise the “most vibrant Pride ever”, which will send a defiant message of solidarity to those countries across the world where LGBT people still live in fear of their lives.
The Pride parade, the highlight of the festival, will occur on Saturday 8 July. It kicks off at 1pm and takes place through central London on the main thoroughfares, Oxford and Regent Street, finishing in Whitehall at around 4.30pm. The focal point, as ever, will be Trafalgar Square, scene of the Pride stage. Thousands are likely to attend in what promises to be a smorgasbord of colour and campery.
Understanding where we’ve come from is vital for us LGBT people – it means we’re connected and belong. This year’s Pride will be launched in conjunction with Tate Britain, which is currently hosting a superb exhibition dedicated to Queer British Art 1861 – 1967. The official launch event at Tate Britain is on 24 June and is free for all. Expect a thoroughly bona evening of music, talks and performance exploring our unique heritage.
It’s grandeur all the way for the ladies who like ladies as the former Bank of New Zealand, no less, hosts the official women’s after-party on Saturday 8 July. Bespoke cocktails will be served in the sumptuous colonial setting – the ideal establishment for women who mean business to put their feet up and take a well-earned break.
Club Kali celebrates the very best of Bollywood and Bhangra – with top 1980s tunes thrown into the mix. London Pride 2017 will see it mark an incredible 22 years. The theme of the night (Saturday 1 July) is Bollywood and Hollywood, so why not take this opportunity (as if you need one) to channel your favourite classic star for the night?
Summer brings out all the hot bodies (even summer in London – keep your fingers and everything else crossed!). Head to Clerkenwell and Social (centrally located near Farringdon Tube) for the Southbank Surfing Pride Party on 8 July, where a heated outdoor terrace will prove the perfect setting for the ultimate outdoor Prosecco party.
LGBT young people are our future – and recognising the need for safe spaces, the Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre give you the Pride Prom on 1 July, an event especially for under-18s. Alice in Wonderland is this year’s theme – and much inspiration is promised, through entertainment, music and dance, on the other side of that rainbowed mirror.
If parades and parties aren’t your bag, and you’re after some more chillout fun (no, not that kind of chillout – though there will be plenty of those too, no doubt), head over to east London’s Victoria Park on Sunday 2 July for the Pride picnic. Victoria Park is one of London’s most beautiful public spaces, and the day promises an eclectic programme with everything from dance to drag. The action is set around the magnificent Bandstand.
For several years now, London’s iconic Southbank has hosted London Wonderground, a vibrant fair-like space which offers entertainment for everyone. Head over to the Paradiso Spiegeltent on Monday 3 July for an intoxicating night of entertainment and music at the Pride in London Spectacular – the focus being on the diverse and dramatic range of talent from London’s LGBT community.
Finalists of this year’s Pride’s Got Talent – think X-Factor and America’s Got Talent, but gayer (is that possible?) – will take to the stage in Trafalgar Square on 8 July. Regular X-Factor judge Sinitta is billed as this year’s Pride’s Got Talent ‘Godmother’ – though, of course, by the time she takes to the stage, the most enjoyable part of the competition will be over: the schadenfreude that comes with wheedling out the car crashes in the earlier heats.
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