Video report by Rachel Bullock
North East festival-goers are being invited to join the Pride celebrations online again this year, as the pandemic forces the festival to go virtual for a second time.
The Northern Pride Festival is one of the UK’s largest LGBTQ+ events.
Organisers from Northern Pride were awarded the title of UK Pride 2020, but due to the
pandemic, postponed the physical event until 23-25 July 2021.
Again, due to Covid-19 restrictions, organisers have made the decision to again postpone the physical event and UK Pride status until 22 – 24 July 2022.
There are still huge plans in place for a virtual celebration on 24 July 2021.
Ste Dunn, Director of Northern Pride, said: “We would love nothing more than to be in a position to celebrate Pride weekend with a huge festival this summer and postponing isn’t a decision we have taken lightly, but the safety of our event team, volunteers and community is our top priority."
While a rise in COVID-19 cases in the UK has made many large-scale events review their plans this year, Ste believes that it is important to host a virtual alternative.
“A report from the LGBT Foundation found that LGBTQ+ people are more likely to have poor mental health, be socially isolated and experience domestic abuse – factors which have escalated due to the pandemic. Online events like these are a lifeline to keep people connected and help to raise the visibility of the community as we continue to campaign for better protections,” he said.
Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, says he is delighted to hear that Northern Pride will go ahead with an online event.
“It’s devastating to hear that UK Pride in Newcastle has had to be postponed again, however the safety of all involved must be the priority as we continue to battle the virus and build the right foundations for Newcastle’s recovery,” he said.
So many members of the LGBTQ+ community have been affected negatively by the pandemic and, although we can’t meet up physically, we can continue to connect with each other through these events and, together, look forward to the better times ahead for our city.
“I’m really pleased that the next UK Pride will definitely take place here in Newcastle and I’ll be working hard with the LGBTQ+ community and the organising committee to ensure that our Pride in 2022 is the best we’ve ever seen.”
Any Platinum Passes already purchased for this year’s festival will now be valid for the 2022 event. Those who no longer wish to keep their tickets can donate them to an akt service user or claim a refund before 18 April.