A MONTH-LONG free festival will see international music acts, film screenings, family events, a new side to a tv icon and an important exhibition showcasing the Rainbow Flag as highlights of Sunderland’s biggest ever Pride.

The city will mark its support of the LGBTQ+ community with a whole host of exciting events throughout June, now unveiled by organisers, Out North East.

And that will culminate in the Pride in the City concert on 29 June, with a full programme of entertainment at Sunniside Gardens, headlined by international boy band, East 17.

The day will kick off with a Pride march through the city, making its way to the Sunniside Gardens arena where the main stage – sponsored by EDF and Sunderland AFC – will be held.

From noon to 7pm there will be a non-stop line up of entertainment, including performances by Sunderland drag queens alongside RuPaul Drag Race star, Choriza May.

Singer Jaymi Hensley from Union J will also be taking to the stage, as will performers Kelly Wilde, Soraya Vivian, DJ Michael Maddison and Future is Queer – a group showcasing local queer artists.

From 7pm visitors are being invited to the official after Pride party at Bobby’s Bar, Sunderland – which is being hosted by none other than celebrity cleaning diva, Kim Woodburn with her Pride Duster Disco.

Although Pride is a celebration, organisers are keen to ensure that the real message behind the event is not lost and with that in mind, the Flag in the Map exhibition will be running throughout June.

Sponsored by Grand Central Rail, the award-winning exhibition produced by human rights charity, Report Out, is a constantly evolving display which features photographs and stories “that reaffirms the universal power of the Rainbow Flag to inspire LGBTQ+ people – especially in countries where their everyday existence is threatened.”

A day of events is also planned at the Bridges on 1 June and a family picnic with music, a mini-Pride for children and activities will take place at Sunniside Gardens on 9 June in partnership with Sunderland AFC and the Foundation of Light, Stagecoach and Sunderland BID.

Sunderland University is running a Pride Film Festival at Pop Flix community cinema, with a number of quizzes, coffee mornings, talks and heritage projects also planned at a variety of venues.

Peter Darrant, chair of Out North East, said this would be the largest and most ambitious Pride festival Sunderland has ever hosted.

“We are delighted to have been able to extend Pride in Sunderland into a month-long celebration which gives us a real opportunity to bring all communities together with a full programme of free events and celebrations,” he said.

“It’s also important however to stay mindful of the wider importance of Pride and we believe the Flag in the Map exhibition – which is the result of an international call out for people to share images of themselves with the Rainbow Flag – will be a real talking point.

“We are very grateful to the many people and businesses which have supported Pride in Sunderland and are helping us to make it the best one yet.”

Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID which is supporting the month-long event, said the successful application made to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to help revitalise Sunniside, meant that some of the money received could support Pride.

“This is a new era for Pride in Sunderland which is now going to be a month-long event with something for everyone,” she said.

“As the recipients of more than £200,000 from UKSPF to help improve the Sunniside area, we have been able to use some of this money to ensure that Pride in Sunderland is a huge success.”

Marion Dixon, Assistant Director of Regulatory Services at Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re really excited about this summer’s month-long Pride in Sunderland festival.

“As a welcoming and inclusive city, we’re looking forward to supporting this fun-packed programme of events celebrating equality and diversity. This is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to get involved, show support for our LGBTQ+ community and have fun, at the same time as celebrating our city’s equality and diversity.”

There are still a number of opportunities available for businesses to support Pride in Sunderland. For further information contact 0191 695 1969 or email

More dates and events will be added to the programme and can be seen at or by following social media @outnortheast

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