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Brighton Pride is set to charge £5 for entry to the street party which has been considered an alternative to going to the park, at a cost of over £20 on the day.
The party, which until now has never been part of official Pride events, has attracted increasing numbers of people as they avoided the commercialisation of the park. But now it is to be incorporated into the official Pride programme, with wristbands for the two-day event charged at £5, of which £1 goes to the Rainbow fund and the remainder covering ‘the significant infrastructure and security costs.’
James Ledward from GScene magazine said: ‘Now that Pride is a paid for event, each year the Gay Village Street Party comes under ever increasing pressure from numbers attending, attracting a rough, noisy and especially on the Saturday night, a not too LGBT friendly community crowd to St James’s Street.
‘While some people oppose the principle of charging for the event at all, with ever increasing visitors coming to the city for Pride, this is not realistic in 2014.’
However, community activist Beth Granter went to a community meeting on Wednesday evening and found her concerns were dismissed. Although police representatives there said the charge would ‘discourage undesirables’, she wrote on her blog that ‘no evidence has been given that charging will make it safer, and evidence shows that in Manchester where they charge entrance fees to the Pride party, crime has not gone down at all.
‘The “consultation” meeting didn’t feel like a consultation at all,’ she told So So Gay. ‘It seems like a done deal. From the tone of the presentations it was clear the decisions had been made about the entrance fee and that was not up for debate, only minor details around how it will be implemented were up for being challenged.’
Paul Kemp, Managing Director of Brighton Pride CIC told us: ‘Pride have been asked by Brighton & Hove council to work in partnership to deliver the Village Party. This year it has been made very clear by BHCC that unless we have a safe and controlled Village Party the future of the entire Pride weekend in 2015 could be jeopardised.’
He added that the new format was developed with the full support of the police, other blue light services and the city council and that it ‘will help deliver a safer event, which also respects those who live in the area.’
‘Reclaiming the event for the community and the safety of all those attending it is at the forefront of organisers’ minds,’ he added, ‘and it is essential we have a safe weekend where everyone can celebrate Pride in our City with the fear of homophobic and transphobic abuse.’
This story was last updated on Thursday 29 May at 13:48 to add comments from Paul Kemp, Managing Director of Brighton Pride CIC, emphasising that they were told asked by Brighton & Hove council to work in partnership with them to deliver the Village Party.
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