15,000 expected for biggest Reading Pride yetBy David Millward
September 02, 2011
Final preparations are being made for what promises to be the biggest Reading Pride festival yet.
Organisers are expecting about 15,000 to join in the fun at the free event at King’s Meadow tomorrow.
An array of colourful acts will entertain the crowds on the main stage and there are stalls and activities to keep people of all ages amused throughout the day.
Lorna McArdle, chairwoman of Reading Pride, said the event is a celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, but encourages everyone to join in.
She said: “Every year I think ‘what a great festival the LGBT community can put on, we really can’t do any more’.
“Then, suddenly we have our own theme tune donated by our very own local Nicolette Street and Carl Englemarc which, I would like to add, no other pride event has ever undertaken.
“We are the first pride event to really recognise same-sex families within the celebrations and implement a family picnic area.”
She continued: “The Reading Pride committee has grown beyond recognition. I sometimes wonder how much bigger we can get but we just keep on growing.
“As such, Reading Pride is now more than a festival.
“We educate with music, we promote the community wherever possible and we have more ideas for the future coming through.”
The headline act on the main stage will be Booty Luv, the former Big Brovaz girls Cherise and Nadia, who enjoyed top 10 hits with Boogie 2Nite and Shine.
Rising boy band Eli Prime (formerly Inju5tice), featuring Wokingham’s own Kyle Abo, will be supporting with their self-penned fusion of electro club beats and commercial pop.
Top cabaret acts, including Drag With No Name, Lola Lasagne and Sandra, will be performing as well as singers, such as Mark Maddison, Benji and Alexis Houston.
An exclusive performance of the first Reading Pride single Sticks and Stones will be performed by Nicolette Street, accompanied by members of Reading’s LGBT community.
The CD will be available to buy at the site and can be downloaded, with proceeds going to towards anti-bullying initiatives in the Thames Valley.
Families and children can enjoy a new improved area with inflatable attractions, including a pirate ship, and Beni the Buzzard’s human cannonball.
The Youth Zone will feature a bungee run, water zorbing, funfair rides, Reading Spinners and pole dancing.
And in the market area there will be traders, community groups and professional organisations such as the Thames Valley Gay Police Association and the Royal College of Nursing.
The day gets underway with a parade which starts at the Civic Offices at 11.30am and makes its way through the town centre before arriving at King’s Meadow for the noon start. The event in the park, off Napier Road, runs through to 8pm.