Features / Bristol pride 2023

What to expect from Bristol Pride 2023

By Maddy Hansen, Wednesday Jul 5, 2023

The pride festival fortnight will culminate in celebrations across the city this Saturday.

Events include the Pride march around the city centre, followed by the Pride Day festival on the Downs and finally a range of after-parties across the city.

Bristol Pride has been taking place since June 24, with events running up until this Sunday.

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Events so far include a poetry night at Old Market Assembly exploring ‘Queering the City’ and a Pride Circus night at Circomedia, as well as a LGBT+ boat tour around the harbourside hosted by Outstories.

Upcoming events this week include a screening of queer short films and a pride cricket fixture, both on Thursday and a LGBT+ comedy night at the Old Vic on Friday.

The comedy night will be hosted by Jayde Adams, Bristolian comedian and strictly star – photo: Bristol Pride

On Saturday, the parade march will gather at 10am at the band stand in Castle Park, ready for departure at 10:45am.

The parade is intended as both a celebration of the LGBT+ community and a protest against homophobia and transphobia still prevalent in the UK.

Only last Sunday, two attendees at a Trans Pride Picnic were subjected to a hate-crime when gel pellets from a BB gun were fired at the group.

In response to the incident, Bristol Pride organisers said: “It is a sad reality that the community is currently under attack.

“It highlights why we have Pride events and why we all must stand together in solidarity with the Trans community.”

And last month, a billboard advertising Pride Day was set alight on Cheltenham road in what event organisers “assume was a targeted action against our LGBT+ community”.

Organisers said: “Considered acts of hatred like this are the reason why Pride remains a protest, as well as a celebration of visibility. It only gives evidence as to why we need Pride and to show up supporting each other.”

The parade, which last year saw 20,000 in attendance, will march through Cabot Circus and onto the harbourside via Baldwin Street before culminating at Canons Marsh amphitheatre.

Regular shuttle buses will run from the amphitheatre to the Downs for the Pride Day festival.

The festival will be headlined by Scissor Sisters frontman, Jake Shears, with the afternoon legends slot on the main stage headlined by Natalie Imbruglia, alongside 100 other acts across the five stages.

Carly Rae Jepsen headlined the 2022 event – photo: Ollie Edwards

The festival’s Cabaret stage features headline performances from Rupaul’s Drag Race Winner, Ra’jah O’Hara alongside Drag Race UK fan favourite Tia Kofi.

Unlike other pride festivals, such as Manchester and Brighton, Bristol Pride Day remains a donation-entry festival, allowing it to be financially accessible to everyone.

Those who can afford to are invited to buy supporter wristbands for the event.

Following the festivities on the Downs, the official afterparty will be held at the O2 Academy.

While tickets to this event are now sold out, tickets remain for other official afterparties, such as Booty Bass at Lost Horizon or Grrl Crush at Basement 45.

There will also be a range of unofficial pride afterparties across the city; such as Bristol Butch bar’s unofficial pride leather party at the Island, or Bitch Pride! After Dark at the Loco Klub.

Main photo: Dan Regan

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