This year’s Northern Pride will go ahead – with a full day of events taking place virtually.
Organisers of the annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community – which regularly attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Newcastle – had to postpone this year’s UK Pride event following the outbreak of COVID-19.
But today (1 June) on the day marking the beginning of Pride Month, the Northern Pride committee has announced its plans for the celebration to be marked, with a packed programme taking place on 18 July across Facebook and YouTube.
At the heart of the event will be a “virtual march” where people are being encouraged to send in images or videos of past Pride events they have attended.
These will then be edited together to create a Pride march which people will be able to watch on the day.
The march will be part of a full day of entertainment and education which can be viewed on social media platforms, covering all of the various aspects which would be part of a Pride celebration.
That includes performances on the main stage and from Curious Arts and Be Scene, plus content from all of the festival zones – health and wellbeing, family and youth and sport.
The event will end with a virtual candlelit vigil, followed by an official after party.
Chair of Northern Pride, Ste Dunn, said the organising committee felt it was important to still mark Pride in some way.
“We have taken the decision to create Northern Pride Online so even if we can’t meet in person, we can still all be together in spirit” he said.
“And we want as may people as possible to take part in the march. If they don’t have images or videos from previous Prides, then they can just dress up in their Pride best and take a picture which we can use.”
The event is being organised around a number of key themes, the first of which is unity which Ste sees as at the heart of what Pride is about.
“Our festival every year is a chance for people to get together with family and friends,” he said.
“We come together to celebrate, remember and unite. With the challenges of COVID-19, Pride festivals and events across the globe are cancelled and postponed. While we are separated, we now more than ever need to be united.”
The theme of protect – one of the core values of Northern Pride – will also be reflected at the event, highlighting the fact that there is still a huge amount of inequality in the world.
Pride will also focus on identity, and about bringing home the message that “everyone deserves to be accepted for who they are, regardless of their gender identity or sexuality.”
The event is also taking three elements of the rainbow flag to represent other important messages – orange for healing, yellow for sunlight to support those who have to hide their true identity during lockdown and purple for spirit – which will be seen at the candlelight vigil which will end the day.
“It is so vital that we continue to keep Pride alive, even in these difficult times,” said Ste.
“And we’re looking forward to as many people as possible coming together.”
Anyone who would like to contribute an image of video for the virtual march should send them to email@example.com or visit www.northern-pride.com/prideonline