Northern Pride Newcastle 22nd July
Northern Pride 2023 – Newcastle upon Tyne
22nd July 2023
The drums were banging, the whistles were ringing out and everyone was dressed in all colours of the spectrum in Newcastle this morning. It must be that time of year for Northern Pride and despite the weather, everyone was in good voice and humour as the traditional march set out from the iconic Newcastle Civic Centre. The route took the proud marchers down Northumberland Street round The Gate and after passing Newcastle University’s main campus arrived at the city’s famous Town Moor – where the festivities really got started.
Sporting two distinct areas, there really is something for everyone here at Northern Pride 2023. As you arrive you are taken into the Rainbow Community Village which is free to enter and offers the heartbeat of the festival as the social hub. This area offers a huge array of stalls where vendors and promoters encourage you to meet up with people new and old and is an area for people of all generations of the LGBTQI+ community. There is a wonderful atmosphere and it was a delight to see people mingling together and enjoying some banter, getting their faces made up and engaging with some activism which is intrinsic to the Pride movement in the UK. It was also lovely to see so many diverse organisations involved this year including Gateshead College, The Masons, The Dog and Cat Shelter and various large and small trades unions.
Also within this area is a smaller stage Curious Arts return for the third year and there were high quality performances from local solo artists and community choirs given the chance to make their voices heard and display their talent.
The second area is the Festival arena where there is a small charge for entry. There are funfair rides, some excellent food and drink purveyors and large bar areas easily equipped to deal with the hordes of revellers who braved the incessant drizzle dressed in some amazing outfits and all clearly having a wonderful time. At the top end of the Festival Arena is the United as One Main Stage where hosts PlastiQ and Paris Munro opened the show with a great deal of warmth and humour.
Next to the bar at the top of the Festival arena is the BeScene zone which offers a nightclub style zone with live entertainment. Opening up this afternoon was the fresh-faced and gorgeous Ella Stique giving us a glorious and energetic set in the style of Cher. Ella Stique is new to the drag scene in Newcastle and was wonderful in her first appearance at Northern Pride. Ella will be back on the main stage tomorrow with the wonderful True Colours Theatre CIO from 2pm.
Also compering is the irrepressible and thoroughly wonderful Miss Rory. Her outfits today were magnificent as she juggled her performances at Northern Pride with her customary residency at Boulevard. She is back tomorrow to lend a humorous take on her hosting duties. The main stage offers an immense variety of performers and Northern Pride has pulled out all the stops in offering many different musical tastes including representatives from the world of pop, west end theatre performers and stars from X-Factor. Singer and guitarist Freddie Lewis headlined today’s event enchanting the audience with his observations and beautifully soulful and moving songs which resonated with many.
The rain may have fallen for most of the day and everyone got soggy and moist, this was not going to rain on this wonderfully colourful and camp parade nor dampen the spirits of the many people who stayed to celebrate and have a superb time.
Many congratulations to Ste Dunn and his team for producing another wonderful event which brings out the heart of the Pride movement while also offering a safe space for everyone to have a blooming great time. Bravo!
There are more acts tomorrow headlined by Lisa Scott-Lee (Steps) and the West End’s &Juliet star Miriam-Teak Lee in a star studded second day of celebration.
– Stephen Stokoe
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