Last month, we exclusively revealed that Birmingham Pride was set to dramatically expand in 2019. The decision was based on plans to expand the event’s entertainment zones to the adjacent former wholesale market, but those plans have subsequently been squashed due to demolition work taking place on the site in early 2019.
This means that Pride organisers and the wider LGBT community are faced with two options. One option is to relocate the entertainment stages to Calthorpe Park, which is situated about one mile away from the Gay Village. The second option is for the event organisers to look closely at how the space within the Gay Village could be used more effectively, given that the car parks which Pride used for the stages will no longer be available, due to redevelopment.
The organisers are currently making preparations for both scenarios, but they want to hear from the Midlands’ LGBT community to find out which option they would prefer.
Birmingham Pride Festival Director Lawrence Barton commented: “Now that we know that the former Birmingham wholesale market is no longer an option to expand the festival, the LGBT community is faced with either being more creative with the space used in the Gay Village or moving the entertainment zones out to a nearby park.”
He added: “We’re currently making plans for both scenarios, but want to hear from the visitors to the event, to see what they would prefer.”
Should patrons want to keep Birmingham Pride in the Gay Village, preparations are already being made to look at locating the Dance Arena on the top floor of the Arcadian car park and the Main Stage down at the bottom of Hurst Street - either on the street or the adjacent car park, which is due to be flattened soon in preparation for an open-air car park. The Cabaret Stage could be located on the road in between Amusement 13 and The Nightingale Club.
With the Calthorpe Park option, all the entertainment stages would be located there, but the Gay Village would continue to be the heart and soul of the street party. This option would be dramatically more costly to stage and would involve two types of ticket - one for the festival at Calthorpe Park and another for the street party in the Gay Village.
The event’s carnival parade - which attracts over 5,000 participants and features representatives from more than 150 LGBTQ organisations and groups - is enjoyed by in excess of 75,000 spectators lining the streets of Birmingham and will be unaffected by the changes, no matter which option is chosen.
To have your voice heard and help decide which option should be adopted, visit either the Midlands Zone or Birmingham Pride facebook or twitter profiles and follow the link to a 30-second survey. The survey closes on 20 October.
Birmingham Pride 2019 will be held over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend of Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May.
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