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Queer Editorial

pride17.jpg Newcastle Pride 2017! Hooray!

All roads lead to the Town Moor this July for Newcastle Pride, which is returning once again for three, fun-filled days in July (if you count running as fun. Yep, there is going to be running on the Friday night).

Friday 21 July

What better way to start a party than a 5k run? But these races have become traditional at Newcastle Pride and this year people will be donning only the best in flattering lycra for the Newcastle Frontrunners event. Gates will be open from 6pm with the race starting at 6.45pm (check out newcastlefrontrunners.co.uk for more on this).

The festival itself will get underway at the Town Moor site from 6.30pm-9.15pm, and, yes, once again it will be totally free (although they certainly won’t knock back a donation if you fancy sticking some dosh into their collecting bucket on the way in). Inside you’ll find five bars plus eight different food stalls. The line-up is a carefully guarded secret for Friday (ie we don’t have it yet), but we’re sure it’s going to game-changing stuff.

Saturday 22 July

The sun is sure to be shining when the Parade kicks off Saturday’s proceedings at 12pm from the Civic Centre (meet from 11.30am). Last year 12,500 people marched through Newcastle city centre and this year’s promises to be even bigger. The nebulous theme for 2017 is ‘Pride in our Past, Present & Future’, which basically means whatever you want it to mean. Stick on a pair of jeans and a polo shirt, or get dolled up like Lady Gaga’s wedding cake – either way, you’ll fit in.

The Newcastle Pride Town Moor site will be open from 12pm-7.15pm and as well as the main stage you can expect to find a fun fair, health zone, family and youth zone, Easystreet Cabaret tent, Powerhouse dance tent and some market stalls. Headlining will be boy band A1 (pictured) who have notched up eight top 10 hits including Take On Me, Same Old Brand New You (both of which reached number one), Summertime of our Lives, No More and Caught in the Middle. Also set to appear are Angie Brown (the dynamite house/soul diva who scored massive hits with Bizarre Inc including Playing with Knives and I’m Gonna Get You), Pink Angels, Lee Lambert (winner of Let Me Entertain You), Jason Price (the UK’s number one Hi NRG singer), Kelly Wilde, Steptastic (I’m guessing: tribute band), Sparkle, Dragon & The Whale (Drag Idol 2017), Little Fix (I’m guessing: tribute band), Channy Thompson and Northern Proud Voices. Phew!

Sunday 23 July

The park will open slightly later, at 1.15pm, on Sunday to give everyone time to get back from church (or sort out that hangover), but will open until 8pm. Once again all of your favourite zones will be back and ready to party and the main stage will be spruced-up and ready to go with another tip-top line-up.

Top of the bill will be Sam Bailey who bowled the nation over when she won the X-Factor back in 2013 (Gary Barlow: “That was INCREDIBLE”). She has scored chart success, hitting the top of the charts both with her debut album and single, and has played a run of sold-out shows in the West End.

Also doing the biz on the main-stage today will be Kelly Llorena (the vocalist behind huge dance hits such as Set You Free, Do Ya Think I’m Sexy and Forever), Stooche (this is the act I’m waiting for – this girl group scored a huge hit with Blackheart and have supported Nicki Minaj and J-Lo), Living Joy (house music maestros known for Dreamer and Don’t Stop Moving), La Voix & Va Va Voom Boys (La Voix is a star of Britain’s Got Talent and the Ab Fab film), Amber (who was recently invited to play an MTV concert alongside Wiz Khalifa, Steve Aoki and Jess Glynne), Jay Francis (one of the best George Michael tribute acts around), Dannie Dee & The Broadway Dancers (from Boulevard), Jamie Tinkler and Melissa Pedro.

After the party shuts up shop, you should try and make it along to the Civic Centre where the traditional candle lit vigil will take place to celebrate all that has been gained in the LGBT struggle, and to remember those around the world for whom life is still difficult – the struggle goes on.

Satellite events

The are plenty of other events going on in July that are well worth attending including the Curious LGBTQ+ Arts Festival which is running from 5-9 July and will feature a jam-packed programme of live art performances, talks and workshops exploring and celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer culture. Among the highlights of the festival will be Northern Stage is Curious (a showcase of new performance and writing from across the north); Mothers Ruin is Curious (a sensational, cabaret style night at ARC in Stockton); Theseus Beefcake at Dance City (see page 44 for more on this); the Curious Vogue Ball with poke after-party  (see page 36 for more on this); and BALTIC Live is Curious (the finale featuring some of the best in queer live art performances – this one is going to be amazing). More on all of this from: curiousfestival.co.uk

Other satellite events include various talks; Dragged Through the Generations at Boulevard (a Pride fundraiser on 16 July); Meet the Author: Paul Flynn (discussing his best-selling LGBT book, Good As You, which tells the tale of the cultural road to British gay equality – The NewBridge Project, 19 July) and Paws with Pride (pet show at Leazes Park on 13 August).

Newcastle Pride, Friday 21-Sunday 23 July. northern-pride.com