For many students in the LGBTQ+ community, and anyone who likes a feel-good party atmosphere, this time of year means only one thing… Pride! All over the UK, hundreds of vibrant, colourful and exciting festivals and parades will be taking place throughout the summer months.
And whilst major brands, such as boohoo, Thomas Cook and Absolut (with their now iconic rainbow bottle and Kiss with Pride campaign) have been showing their solidarity for years, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same. And we don’t just mean getting your rainbow face paint out (though that’s a great idea), because as well as attending, there are volunteering opportunities, student initiatives and other ways to become part of Pride.
London (6th July with plenty of events in the month before)
Putting the capital P in Pride, London hosts one of the biggest events in the country, with hundreds of thousands of people attending the parade itself. There’s also a whole month of performances, events, and activities to put in your diary. With plenty of opportunities to volunteer as a steward, or help the event behind the scenes, it’s a great way for students to be involved, and make friends with others in the LGBTQ+ community.
Brighton (2-4th August)
If you’re going to travel to a Pride event (Did somebody say road trip?), make it this one. Described by the Guardian as ‘the country’s most popular LGBTQ+ event,’ it attracts people from all over the UK, and the world, with plenty of glitter and rainbows on show. Come and check out performances from big names, such as this year’s showstoppers, Kylie and Clean Bandit. The city’s Preston Park is transformed for the weekend into a playground of stages, party tents and general inclusive fun. With space for camping, and opportunity to join the largest parade of its kind in the UK, it’s a must-visit event for everyone.
Manchester (24th-25th August)
Manchester’s Gay Village is a vibrant hotspot for anybody planning to visit the city, and during the bank holiday weekend it becomes home to one of the UK’s longest running Pride celebrations. With a separate music event in Mayfield Depot, featuring around 30 performers, the real celebration continues in the Village, with a commitment to a safe, inclusive, and most of all, loving vibe. The parade itself regularly attracts huge crowds and brings the city to a standstill.
For students planning a trip to Manchester for Pride, Youth Pride MCR, a free to attend event located 5-minutes from the Gay Village Party on the same weekend, is worth checking out. This safe and inclusive space is for ages 14 and over, with plenty of live performances, crafts, film showings and make-up tutorials for budding drag queens and fashionistas alike.
Bournemouth (12-14th July)
Bourne Free offers a full weekend of activity, with a parade on Saturday 13th, and festivities throughout. Stick around for performances on the main stage from Ru Paul’s Drag Race legend Sharon Needles (surely worth the price of a wristband alone?) alongside many other acts, shows and events. Bournemouth University actively supports Bourne Free, and offers students the chance to become diversity champions for the university.
Liverpool (27th-28th July)
Pride in Liverpool, as the festival has been renamed this year, has a student-friendly free entry policy. Even more student-friendly, is the youth zone, not to mention plenty of live entertainment, food and drink stalls, and other attractions to be enjoyed before, during and after the parade itself. If you’re staying in the city over the summer, then this is one not to be missed.
Have you heard of National Student Pride?
National Student Pride takes place every February, which is the UK’s LGBT History Month. Students from over 170 universities around the world, including many from the UK, visit the University of Westminster for this event, whilst many more stream panels live. It’s a mix of parties, film screenings, debates and exhibits, as well as a graduate job fair. It’s about celebrating the LGBT voices in the student community. It’s also free, and well worth attending. Have you checked out if your University LGBT society is getting involved next year?
Whether you’re staying local or travelling far and wide to visit one of the many Pride events happening this summer, check out our blog for plenty of tips on what else to do during the holidays.