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REVIEW: Pride Festival @ Brighton, 04/09/18 – 05/09/18

The Verse’s Lynsey Downie reviews Pride, which took place in Brighton on 4th August 2018.

The parade, colours, dancing, Britney. As always Pride came back a winner. With three hundred thousand people showing up for the weekend’s festivities, Pride was pretty hard to miss, as always.

The festival started off with crowds gathering in the street for the infamous Pride Parade, along with numerous people appearing on roofs, balconies and bus stops for a good look. Floats and participants followed the ‘Colour My World’ theme, meaning rainbows everywhere. But what else would you expect from Pride?

From a balloon Chinese dragon to a purple smoke show, there were some show stoppers amongst the parade. Nevertheless, corporations still dominated the scene with floats such as Paddy Power, Coop Funeral Care and Virgin Holidays. These floats had me wondering: perhaps has Pride gotten way too commercialised? Is there gay love or is there advertisement marketing? Are companies exploiting the publicity from Britney that Pride has gotten this year?

However, although I couldn’t help but notice this, I was still humbled by our public services’ floats. The NHS and the fire department particularly stole the show, right alongside public gay rights activists.

Cans, glass, plastic were everywhere…

After the parade was finished, the crowds headed further into town to see the Pride Village and Bar Parties, and again I had another shock. The streets were littered. Cans, glass, plastic were everywhere. As Pride is a festival of love. The irony of the lack of love for the environment was great. Walking through the streets of Brighton. It had me wondering, are some people really here to support gay rights, or just for a massive party?

However, the bar parties had such a great atmosphere leaving everyone in good spirits before heading to the main festival. Arriving at Pride, the ‘Dance Big Top’ was the first place to go supporting the likes of Alpha b2b Lola and The Triplets. Following this, everyone gathered to the Main Stage from 16:45 to see one of our favourite school artists Pixie Lott, staying for Ella Eyre at 19:00, and waiting. Securing spots for the best view of ‘Britney Spears: Piece of Me Tour’ at 20:15.

Oops, she did it again!

Britney, of course, was amazing. But it was so surreal. She is such a big star. There was a distance of eighty yards between the front of the audience and her. Only the official guest listers were close to Britney due to special seating arrangements. However, she was amazing despite the distance!

Of course, all the classics came up from our favourites: ‘Oops I Did it Again!’, ‘Toxic’ and ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’. Followed by more recent hits ‘Womanizer’ and ‘Work B**ch’, which the crowd lived for. What was unbelievable was that the iconic Britney Spears had to ask one of her backup dancers where she was, before shouting to the crowd ‘Brighton Pride’. To be fair to her though, who would have ever thought Britney Spears would have ended up performing in Preston Park in Brighton?

After Brighton Pride was complete, it was time to see LoveBN1 Fest on the 5th. Excitingly, it was the very first LoveBN1 Fest to ever take place on the 5th of August this year. This was also held at Preston Park. Its purpose is to raise money for the Pride Social Impact Fund. A good reminder to companies that Pride is all about community and supporting gay rights.

This family aimed festival kicked off at 13:30 featuring Jess Glynne as the headliner, which is massive for a first-time festival. Joining the line-up was also Gabrielle and, interestingly, the House Gospel Choir. Also marketed towards families was a Baby Love Disco and Bubble Jo as well as a Wellbeing Area. This allowed people to pay for yoga classes as well as many health treatments such as massages and acupuncture.

So after a family fun day, the weekend of Pride was concluded. The festival raised money collectively for the Allsorts Youth Project, Mindout and the LBGT Community Safety Forum who are delivering the Accessibility Matters Project making pride more accessible and safer for disabled, blind, deaf and older people. Therefore, regardless of commercialisation, Pride still always fights for a good cause. I just think it is important to remember as a society to promote freedom and self-expression throughout Pride and life in general.

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