Music / Bristol Pride

Thorny’s big Pride party nears

By james higgins, Monday Jun 18, 2018

Thorny’s boarding Thekla for a big pre-Pride party on Friday, June 29.

The night that prides itself on binning binaries and celebrating uniqueness is back and celebrating their third birthday with a boundary-pushing roster of artists.

Thorny is renowned for their artist-led nights that celebrate queerness © Paul Samuel White

The three big acts to watch out for are FAKA, MUN SING, and MX World.

FAKA is a performance duo that express their experience as black queer bodies and MX World use traditional song writing, sampling, and audio-processing to piece together a ‘unique ethereal sonic atmosphere’. Local DJ duo Queens Of The Neighbourhood will be accompanying the show with a selection of floor fillers.

Jo Bligh, director of Thorny, says that, three years on from its debut, Thorny is more relevant than ever. “I think our nights remind people that we don’t need to feel isolated and insignificant, despite the message that prevails at the moment that people – particularly LGBT+ people – are increasingly so,” Jo explains.

“But I do think now, more than ever, queer people need safe and welcoming spaces to come together as a community with our allies, to dance, laugh, have conversations and share experiences together,” Jo elaborates.

The ticket sales speak for themselves. When Thorny hosted its first night, it attracted an intimate but energetic group of guests. But at their last event held at the Arnolfini, over 400 tickets were sold. “I think lots of venues don’t think there is a market for this sort of alternative night,” Jo say, “but there really is.”

Alternative nights are a big draw in Bristol and recently Thorny welcomed local drag star, Carmen Monoxide

“Bristol is such an alternative city, that it seems wrong that there is not better representation of women and LGBT+ performers in the nights and gigs. As the night has gained traction, we do feel a responsibility to keep doing what we do,” Jo concludes, “because we are one of the few that does.”

Thorny originiated not from a grand plan, but from the frustration of Jo’s friends who couldn’t get booked.

The nights are artist led and Jo encourages the acts booked to shape them in their own image. The roster of performers includes DJs, live acts and even cabaret from both the local and international scene.

“There is an eclecticism and vibrancy to our nights. We have local performers alongside people from around the world. FAKA is from Johannesburg and is a massive presence in South Africa and the queer scene,” Jo explains.

Jo says supporting local artists is really important to what FAKA do because “local artists are being priced out and there are a lack of opportunities”. That’s why, Jo hopes, Thorny will be in a position in the near future to do more than just book local LGBT+ acts. There are plans to “organise a festival and perhaps find a more significant way to support starting LGBT+ artists in Bristol”.

“We’re so humbled that people in Bristol continue to turn up, in all their glittery glad-rags, dancing hard and filling the floor with love. It’s going to be a special one,” Jo assures.

Organisers are committed to booking taxis home for QTIPOC guests and ask for a small donation towards this. 

Organisers have also reserved free tickets for those on a low income, email to claim one. Contact if you’d like one.

Thorny will be held at Thekla on Saturday, June 29 from 9pm to 3am.  Tickets are on sale from £12.

Read More: What’s on at Bristol Pride 2018

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