With one week until Sheffield Pride, we have a chat with the man in charge…
Name: Adam Hood
Title: Head Of Sheffield Pride
Tell us about yourself and your role in Sheffield Pride.
I’ve been involved for a few years now. A friend of mine was helping organise the event a couple of years ago and they brought me along to a meeting. I started off as a volunteer, then I was treasurer and now I run the organisation. I’ve just finished a postgraduate degree in legal practice at University of Sheffield, now I’m balancing Sheffield Pride with job hunting.
Sheffield Pride is coming up soon, how are you feeling about it?
Excited. And Nervous. And Tired. And Stressed. It’s an awful lot bigger that previous years, which means more work, and as the big day draws closer there are always tons of last minute things that need addressing.
How long does it take to plan something like this?
We’ve been planning this since about last October. The workload increases as the months go on of course but we’ve been meeting with health and safety groups about the event, for example, since March, and we’ve been working with our partners since before Christmas.
Is Sheffield Pride council funded or how have you raised money for this?
This year we’ve received absolutely no funding from the council at all, neither through their Communities and Inclusion budget, nor through the grants we’ve applied for. The event is funded through ticket sales, bar sales and contributions from our partners.
We’ve seen a big change in Sheffield Pride this year, what sparked this?
Me, if I’m honest. This was the vision I had for the organisation and the current team share that vision. The previous years’ events tried to fit too much into one space; trying to cater to people wanting to read poetry as well as people wanting to rave to dance music. It ended up being a jack of all trades and a master of none. It took effort and work but this year there are three events; Barker’s Pool, Devonshire Green and O2 Academy, not to mention all the smaller events during Pride Week. Admittedly I don’t think there’s anything specifically aimed at poetry reading but there’s scope to include a whole variety of interests without them overpowering each other.
This year we’ll see a big move from Endcliffe Park to the city centre. How do you feel this will affect the event and what impact will it have on Sheffield and the people who might not normally attend Pride?
The move to the city centre was a no-brainer. There’s no reason to be hidden away in Endcliffe park, not when Sheffield is renowned as one of the safest and most welcoming cities in the country. We wanted to put Pride in the heart of the city, to be loud and proud where it counts and where it will be seen as the exciting and inclusive event that it is. Of course there’s more to it than that; being in the city centre means it’s so much more accessible to people outside of Sheffield. This year there’s a real interest from places like Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds to actually come down for the day, like so many people do for their Pride events.
Where does the inspiration come from?
The truth is that there’s been so many things in the previous years that we’ve got a lot to draw on from the past events but we exchange ideas with other Prides as well. I think the key this year is that the team are specialists; I designed each role to fit the stuff they’re best at so they get to work in their element and I think it really shows through in what is going to be happening.
What is your aim with Sheffield Pride 2013, what will make you go ”job well done”?
We want it to be fun, to be enjoyable, something people will say “I can’t wait until next year” about. Beyond that, we really want to see people actually travelling to Sheffield to attend, to show that Sheffield can compete with some of the bigger Prides. We’ve got a great city here and we want to show it off!
Tell us about the different venues and areas, what can Pride goers expect?
I think there’s something for everyone really. On 6 July there’s Barker’s Pool which is free, aimed at families and people wanting a nice social afternoon, City Hall have been instrumental in helping us organise it and it promises to be a really fun afternoon with some great performances and loads of local organisations there. Devonshire Green is a full-blown festival; the stage and sound and light are amazing, and the acts are a real step up from anything we’ve had before. The whole site is split into “districts” so there are loads of things to do besides watching the stage. There’s a fairground, street entertainment and the ever-popular marketplace but new additions such as the UV zone and social media spot will add some interactive activities. We’ve also got the first Sheffield Pride VIP, hosted by La Tasca, as well as Pride Meadows for those wanting to relax and some other bits and pieces for people to enjoy. Then at O2 Academy we’re having a massive club night.
What areas will be ticketed/free?
Pride Week is free, Barker’s Pool is free, Devonshire Green is £10 on the door and O2 Academy is £7 on the door but you can buy a combo ticket in advance for £13. The reality is events like this cost a lot to put on, the organisation is not-for-profit and the team are all volunteers. Leftover money goes on one thing; making next year even better!
We understand there’ll be a big parade this year. Where will it take place and what will it be like?
Being in the city centre the parade is going to be a whole lot bigger and louder than last year. It’s setting off from Barker’s Pool at half three and arriving at Devonshire Green just before four, so there’s the whole length of Division Street to make as much noise as possible and show your pride colours off to the rest of the city! There are loads of local groups getting involved and of course there will be a lot of spectators and attendees at Barker’s Pool joining in.
What event other than the parade are you most looking forward to?
Personally, I’m looking forward to Devonshire Green getting started. Once that’s underway it means most of the hard work is done and that I can relax… Or possibly not.
What artist are you most looking forward to seeing?
It’s gotta be Sam and The Womp! I loved their single “Bom Bom” and it’s so strange to think that in just a few weeks they’ll be headlining an event I’m helping to organise.
Tell us about the events hosted during the week, any particular highlights?
We’ve got Pride Week starting on 2 July, a launch night at Dempsey’s, secret cinema night at Studio 54, same-sex speed dating at G Casino, a drag race at affinity and a Climax BBQ at the Sheffield University. They’re all free and for anyone who can’t make it on the big day hopefully they’ll get to take part at one of those.
Have you any girl or boy specific activities planned?
Nope, none at all. We’ve taken a decision this year to try and make everything we do inclusive to L, G, B and T, rather than splitting them up like a lot of Prides do!
What are you doing to include and welcome transgender people?
Exactly the same things we’re doing to include and welcome everyone else. We want to promote equality and inclusivity across the board no matter who you are, rather than say “hey, you’re T? Well we’ve put a tent up over there for you, enjoy.”
Tell us about the after party at O2 Academy?
Many club nights are themed and, well, it’s done with a rather lacklustre effort. We decided that if we wanted to do a theme, we’d do it right. The O2 is capable of converting its entire lighting system into ultraviolet so we’ve taken that idea and let it grow. All throughout the afternoon people will be able to get UV painted, design their own t-shirts and more at Devonshire Green in preparation for the after party. It’s 2700 capacity, which we figured would make it the physically biggest LGBT night Sheffield has ever seen. Then we did some digging and realised not only that, but, at least this year, it’s the biggest Pride after party in the whole country! And that’s just size wise. We’ve got the DJs from AXM, Fuel, Nightingales, NG1, Edge, Fibre and Gaydio coming as well as the amazing Robin Skouteris all the way from Greece.
How can people get involved?
All the information and signposts are on our website www.sheffieldpride.co.uk where you can buy tickets, volunteer, contact us and just generally find out all the info about what’s going on.
Sum up Sheffield Pride 2013 in three words?
Family. Festival. Party. That represents the three main events; Barker’s Pool, Devonshire Green and O2 Academy.
Finally, why should people come to Sheffield Pride this year?
It’s the biggest Pride Sheffield has ever seen and it’s going to be a great day with something for everyone.
Many thanks, see you next week!
Essential info Sheffield Pride 2013:
2 July: Pride Week Launch Party, Dempsey’s
3 July: Secret Cinema, Studio 54
3 July: iCandy Beach Party, Chesterfield
4 July: Speed Dating, G Casino
5 July: Drag Race, Affinity
6 July: Parade + Festival + After Party, Division Street, Devonshire Green, Barkers Pool Festival, O2 Academy
Most events are free but Pride at Devonshire Green costs £10 and the after party £7 on the door. Buy tickets in advance from the Sheffield Pride website.
Text: Bella Qvist