Friday, 22 June 2018

Liverpool Pride 2018 Launch - Avenue HQ, Liverpool

With the ninth official Liverpool Pride festival on the horizon this July, and current affairs both in our own country and around the world demonstrating ever more the need for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to stand together in the face of adversity and hate, the city is preparing to don its rainbow flag and get its dancing shoes on once more in both remembrance and solidarity. This year’s event marks a decade since the passing of teenager Michael Causer, who lost his life on 2 August 2008 after a vicious homophobic attack and of whom the festival is dedicated to each year.

Having moved proposed venues four times, the festival is returning to its historic roots at the Tithebarn Street in the city centre, the site of the city’s first pride celebration at Pownall Square in 1995, and is expected to prove popular with festival-goers due to the close proximity to the city’s Gay Quarter. This year’s theme, #AllTogetherNow, was chosen to incite unity and also to compliment the tenth anniversary of Liverpool being named the European Capital of Culture in 2008 and the cultural events occurring throughout the city to mark this occasion.

Having been invited to attend the VIP Press Launch yesterday evening, 21 June, at Avenue HQ, I was able to exclusively get my hands on a copy of the 2018 Liverpool Pride programme whilst the festival’s organisers informed the attendees of the event’s exciting announcements. Hosted by Clare Simmo from Radio City, we also witnessed talks from The Michael Causer Foundation, DC Tracy OHara representing Liverpool Police, and also a sensational performance of ‘Rise like a phoenix’ and ‘This is me’ by Velma Celli who will be playing at the Liverpool Epstein Theatre 29 July with her show ‘Iconic: A Brief History of Drag’. The evening itself was colourful and lively, aided by the rainbow décor and the aptly named ‘Proud as Punch’ cocktail available from the helpful bar staff, and as I settled down, complimentary canapé and in-house beer in hand, I couldn’t help but become immensely proud, and, I must admit, a tad emotional, about what the Organisation and its wonderful sponsors, Barclays, Manchester Airport and the Mayor of Liverpool himself, manage to pull off year after year to show that love is love and that hate will never win in this city.

Liverpool Pride 2018 is set out to be the biggest and most vibrant year yet, with a range of events and activities going on throughout the city on the weekend of 28-29 July. Saturday marks the annual pride march from Queen’s Square through to Stanley Street followed by performances from talented local and international acts such as Ellis Bextor, international drag star and winner of Celebrity Big Brother 2018, Courtney Act; the cast of Kinky Boots; Rogue Minogue; and House of Suarez amongst many others. Sunday is “All about getting over the hangover from the day before” with cultural and family events at The Bluecoat, the Liverpool Museum and LJMU. All in all, if last night’s press launch was anything to go off, this year’s festival will be an explosive event not to be missed.

Reportage - Neve Francis
on - 21/6/18

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