REVIEW: Northern Pride 2012
By Phoenix D-K on July 27, 2012 in Society
Back in 2008 I attended Newcastle’s very first Pride event. With a big burly gay man at my side to further “prove” my gay credentials (disclaimer: I’m only “half gay”) we wandered around the few stalls, watched the fabulous drag acts and muttered “s’alright really” before heading to the pub. Around 2500 of you did the same that year.
On Saturday over 20,000 of us descended upon Exhibition Park to lap up the sunshine and paint a rainbow on our cheeks. The popularity of Pride is there for all to see and it’s only going to get bigger and bigger each year. So, what then is the appeal of a day out at Pride? Well, apart from the obvious draw of this years weather – there’s nothing a Geordie loves more than sitting in the park with a plastic glass of increasingly warm beer – there was a whole host of things to grab your attention.
From the instant I shuffled through the gates the thundering noise of the cabaret tent and the funfair threatened my ear drums, leading me to curse the very day someone invented such a thing as a “David Guetta”. (I heard 3 separate renditions of “Titanium” that day…)
But though the last minute move from Leazes park to Exhibition park was a welcome one for some, it did mean that areas like the market stalls got very crowded, very quickly. It also allowed the “no alcohol” rules of bringing your own tinnies was much easier to police – it’s rather telling that the map thrust into my hands walking into the park was useful only to see the 12 different bar locations with a price list for each.
Beyond the kitsch value there was nothing too appealing from the main stage. Though I must applaud the clever, clever person who shoved the band Scooch on at doors opening in what I imagine was an attempt to get rid of them early. The line-up of the Cheeky Girls, Sonia and Totally Gaga was inevitably popular, but not for everyone.
New to this years pride was the addition of a women’s tent which included for me, the best alternative to the “could have done with some autotune” sounds coming from the main stage. Some lovely acoustic guitar solo artists opened, Claire Mooney followed by Kimberly Brown both of which deserved more rapturous applause than they actually got. Poetry, comedy and yet more singing followed, with Pride Radio’s very own Dotty entertaining the crowds with a medley of popular songs, accompanied by Catherine Haslam on keyboards. While it was slightly disappointing to see essentially club singing getting the most bodies inside the tent, you can’t fault a good singer for bringing in the crowds despite what my indie heart ached for.
As ever the health zone was crammed with teenagers and young ‘uns stuffing their pockets full of condoms, but the workshop tent (contained within the Women’s area) was eerily quiet whenever I peeked in. The inclusion of a women’s area did raise a few heckles within certain circles, as no men were allowed in, but I applaud the efforts of the organisers to provide a safe and inclusive space with some great female entertainers, which also turned out to be a breath of relief for those in the lgbt community who’ve seen enough drag acts and euro-pop to last a lifetime.
- Alternative Miss Pride 2013 – “The Greatest Show On Earth”