North East festival-goers are invited to show their pride virtually this year, as one of the UK’s largest LGBTQ+ events moves online.
Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, organisers of the Northern Pride Festival, sponsored by Barclays, have made the decision to postpone their physical event and UK Pride status until 22 – 24 July 2022.
But there are huge plans in place for a virtual celebration on 24 July 2021, with more to be revealed during an announcement at 5pm today (18 February) at https://www.facebook.com/northernprideuk/.
“We would love nothing more than to be in a position to celebrate Pride weekend with a huge festival this summer and postponing isn’t a decision we have taken lightly, but the safety of our event team, volunteers and community is our top priority,” said Ste Dunn, Director of Northern Pride.
While a rise in COVID-19 cases in the UK has made many large-scale events review their plans this year, Ste believes that it is of the utmost importance to host a virtual alternative.
“A report from the LGBT Foundation found that LGBTQ+ people are more likely to have poor mental health, be socially isolated and experience domestic abuse – factors which have escalated due to the pandemic. Online events like these are a lifeline to keep people connected and help to raise the visibility of the community as we continue to campaign for better protection,” he said.
“We’ve channelled all of our energy into planning a really fantastic virtual programme, which will hopefully have something for everyone, and we’re delighted to have Barclays returning as a sponsor for another year.”
Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council is delighted to hear that Northern Pride will go ahead with an online event.
“It’s devastating to hear that UK Pride in Newcastle has had to be postponed again, however, the safety of all involved must be the priority as we continue to battle the virus and build the right foundations for Newcastle’s recovery,” he said.
“So many members of the LGBTQ+ community have been affected negatively by the pandemic and, although we can’t meet up physically, we can continue to connect with each other through these events and, together, look forward to the better times ahead for our city.
“I’m really pleased that the next UK Pride will definitely take place here in Newcastle and I’ll be working hard with the LGBTQ+ community and the organising committee to ensure that our Pride in 2022 is the best we’ve ever seen.”
Ian Twizel, regional head of Barclays Spectrum, Barclays LGBT+ colleague network, is delighted that the Northern Pride Festival will go ahead online.
“Pride is more than a march, it’s about coming together as a community in celebration, unity and solidarity,” he said.
“So, while we all wish we could get together on the streets of Newcastle this year, we know that Northern Pride will put on a phenomenal virtual event programme that raises awareness of the struggles that the LGBTQ+ community still face, and celebrates how far we have come, in a way that is safe for everyone.
“We are proud to be headline sponsor of Northern Pride for the third year – and while homophobia, biphobia and transphobia still exists in the UK, we’ll continue to actively support Pride.”
Any Platinum Passes already purchased for this year’s festival will now be valid for the 2022 event. Those who no longer wish to keep their tickets can donate them to an act service user or claim a refund before 18 April by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Northern Pride, visit www.northern-pride.com or search northernprideuk on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.