Be Proud! UK Pride hits the Isle of Wight

Having hosted their very first Pride in 2017, the Isle of Wight went on to be chosen as host for UK Pride 2018 and are pushing the boat out in the most spectacular style on July 21st with a huge rainbow themed parade down Union Street, Ryde to the beach and the main event happening over five different stages along the seafront.

This year the Pride Village stretches all the way along from the Balcony, following North Walk to the Big Kahuna at the Boating Lake, with the main entrance at that end. Ventnor Botanic Garden will be running a Wellness Retreat and Enchanted Isle will provide a Children’s Area complete with princesses and there will be loads of stalls, local food, local charities and national LGBT charities and organisations. Plus representatives from the forces – loads of lovely people who all want to see inclusivity.

The Parade will be huge – more than twice the size of last year’s – with floats and buses included in the melee. Carnival Island has created a Pride character, currently under wraps, who will perform right down near the front of the parade, which will be led by Pride trustees.  Members of the police force, the fire service, prison and ambulance services, the Army and Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force will all be in uniform, in the parade, and if you want to jump on the end you’re welcome.

 The day will begin at around 11am with a parachute jump into the main arena, from a para carrying a huge bright rainbow flag – weather conditions permitting. Then the parade leaves the Ryde School area at 12 noon.

Later in the day biggest draw is bound to be the captivating Austrian super star Conchita and her band who are headliners on the Unison Pride Main Stage, and promoting Euro Pride that will be held in Vienna in her home country next year. She’s ably supported by a whole host of fabulous acts such as Livin Joy, Danny Beard, Charlie Hides, Miss Jason,  The Dolly Show (Kelly O’Brien) and Donna Marie as ‘Lady Gaga’ – at least 17 other acts that include the Medina Community Choir and the Solent Gay Men’s Chorus.

There are four more performing areas, and these include the WI tent – yes those ladies who used to do the tea and cakes at Bestival are at Pride, armed with kettles and cup-cakes. 

“They’re fully immersed in diversity,” said organiser Matt Bundy. “And they have a few L and T members.” At this event they also have a stage, hosted by our own Patsy Cabaret and starring talented locals such as Donna Jones and the UK LGBT Poet Laureate Trudy Howson.

The Wave 105 dance stage has Rob Da Bank DJing (about half way through) along with at least a dozen other DJs including Robert ‘Chip’ Clark, Boogaloo Stu and Fairweather Festival organisers Callum Fairweather and Luke Joynes.

The Community Stage is taking some of the acts that can’t fit onto the main stage – everyone wants to come to Pride this year – and features acoustic performers. The London Hotel Cabaret Tent has just that; lots of lovely cabaret from around the world.

And if you never want the day to end, Gok Wan is DJing at the after party at Fever in Newport 21 July from 10pm to 3am.

There are four or five camping and glamping (it has to be glamping no?) options on the website and loads of hotels and B&Bs in the area. Make a week of it and get involved in some of the run up events. For example there’s a whole programme of opera that starts with Casanova’s Ball at the Freshwater Memorial Hall on July 15th

See the website for all details.

Jo Macaulay

13 July 2018

By Jo Macaulay in Articles