'Biggest Cardiff Pride ever' with acts Jake Shears and Vengaboys headlining at event

  • ITV Wales' Megan Boot reports from Pride Cymru in Cardiff

Around 50,000 people took part in Pride Cymru in Cardiff over the weekend, making it the biggest attendance in the organisation's history.

The event which champions the rights of LGBTQ+ people saw a parade meander around parts of the capital, followed by a festival within Cardiff Castle that took place across the weekend.

Revellers were treated to performances from the likes of The Vengaboys, Ultrabeat, Heather Small and Scissor Sister's star Jake Shears.

Saturday began with people taking place in a march around Cardiff. Credit: Matthew Horwood

It was a particularly special occasion for Pride Cymru which celebrated its 25th anniversary having held its first event in 1999.

Back then it was originally known as Mardi Gras, with a much more modest crowd of 2,000 people attending to see celebrations at Coopers Field in Cardiff's Bute Park.

Fast forward a quarter of a century and Pride Cymru has now become an annual fixture within the city, drawing in crowds from near and far.

Many organisations were represented on Saturday's march showing support for LGBTQ+ rights.

"We have people from Anglesey, Wrexham, Tenby, all areas. We've had people come from across the UK as far as Perth in Scotland, also people from the United States, and the Netherlands" said Dan Walsh, Vice Chair of Pride Cymru.

"Pride is all about coming together and finding your tribe, finding your chosen family. There are so many people that still feel isolated, 25 years after this event started.

"It's a really important opportunity to celebrate how far we've come but also allow people to find a community that loves them and that cares for them."

The crowds enjoying performances from the likes of the Vengaboys and Ultrabeat who headlined on the Saturday evening. Credit: Matthew Horwood

Cardiff Drag performer Rob Keetch, also known as Dr Bev, was at the original event.

"It was the first big event I'd been to performing as Dr Bev. Back then it was just the 'Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras'.

For Dr Bev, she says attitudes have changed significantly in the last quarter of a century.

"I could walk through today in drag and people would be like 'uh ok', whereas back then it would've been 'What is going on?!'."

Revellers were treated to not only great acts but also good weather as the rain stayed away. Credit: Matthew Horwood

"It's not just about the Pride event in Cardiff now. The world's biggest small film festival for LGBTQ people is held here in Cardiff. The Gay Games are coming here. We are really showing to the world, we are a small city but boy do we have a large voice!"

Even though Pride has become a celebration Dr Bev says it's still so much more than that.

"For me I look upon Pride in three different ways: we celebrate how far we've come, we commemorate those who've walked that path for us and we educate those who still may not realise they are sewing seed of discomfort and hurt for others", she said.

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