Steps star Claire Richards will be stepping out at this year’s Birmingham Pride when she makes an exclusive appearance at the city’s Eden Bar.
The hot-off-the-press news is certain to excite Claire’s legion of LGBT fans right across the Midlands, who’ll no doubt be heading to the popular gay village venue when their favourite takes to the stage on the evening of Saturday 25 May.
Claire’s career with Steps has seen her sharing in a massive success that’s included 14 top-five hits, three number one albums, a BRIT Award and worldwide record sales in excess of 20 million.
Commenting on the announcement, a delighted Garry Prentice from Eden Bar said: “We're thrilled to have Claire as our Pride Saturday headliner. Together with the rest of our Pride Saturday line-up, it's going to be fantastic - we can't wait.”
He added: “We shall be releasing our Pride Sunday line-up very soon.”
Other acts appearing at Eden on Saturday 25 May are Vivienne Lynsey, Fanny Burns, Brenda LaBeau, Charlie Hides, Donna Marie as Lady GaGa, The Dolly Show and Melissa Totten as Madonna.
News of Eden Bar’s massive coup in securing Claire as its Pride headline act follows on from a similar success story at last year’s festival, when MOBO Award-winning vocalist and actress Beverley Knight performed live at the venue.
Claire’s appearance at Pride and the launch of her solo career with the release of the single, On My Own, and the album, My Wildest Dreams, comes hot on the heels of Steps’ acclaimed Tears On The Dancefloor album and supporting 22-date sold-out arena tour.
“That's one of the things that makes Steps work now - we can go off and do our own thing, then come back together again. Everyone in the band has been really supportive about my solo album, and it's been really nice playing them my songs while we've been touring together. But I don't think I want to see any of them at my solo shows because it would make me too nervous - they can hide at the back!”
"I've wanted to do a solo record for as long as I can remember,” she says, “but if I'd tried before, I wouldn't have been ready and the album wouldn't have been as good as it is. I really know how to use my voice now and how to look after it, and I really feel like I've earned my stripes now.”
Nervous or not, Claire says she's drawn strength and courage from the success of the Tears On The Dancefloor tour: “Back in the day, we never sang a two-hour show completely live, but now we do. Knowing that I can do that night after night for 22 shows on an arena tour is a massive confidence boost. I really feel like, 'Yes! I can do this!’”
Tens of thousands of party revellers are set to descend on Birmingham Pride, supported by HSBC UK, over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May, with organisers announcing record-breaking advance tickets sales to date for the UK’s biggest two-day LGBTQ festival.
Birmingham Pride 2019 kicks off on Saturday 25 May with a Carnival Parade through the city centre. The parade, which sets off from Victoria Square in the city centre at 12 noon, is this year taking the theme of ‘Love Out Loud’ and will focus on supporting the ‘No Outsiders’ programme in schools. Over 100 LGBTQ organisations are set to take part.
The Pride Festival, which takes place in Birmingham’s vibrant gay village, will feature headline artists Years & Years and The Human League on the Virgin Trains Main Stage, with other high-profile performers including Mabel, Sigala, Marc Almond, Faithless and Kate Nash.
Pride Festival Director Lawrence Barton commented: “The entire Birmingham Pride team are absolutely buzzing about this year’s festival. It’s incredible to have achieved record ticket sales so far this year, with sales up 20% on the same period last year. We’ve got a fantastic line-up for 2019, including headliners Years & Years and The Human League, so we’re certain it’s going to be an amazing festival!”
Birmingham Pride takes place on both Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 May and last year attracted over 50,000 party-loving revellers. The 2019 festival also features the Mixmag Arena, The Los Angeles Cabaret Stage, The Future Stage, a street food court, community stalls, a women’s area and a new Lip Sync Stage.
Tickets for the two-day festival in Birmingham’s gay village are available online at www.birminghampride.com
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