This weekend saw the biggest Pride celebration Sheffield’s ever had as thousands came out to celebrate diversity. But was it all too expensive? Climax Online’s Bella Qvist reports…
The sun is blazing when I head into town on Saturday 6 July for the culmination of this year’s Sheffield Pride week. After a quick stop to buy factor 50 sun block my girl and I meet up with friends at Barker’s Pool where fountains have been died pink in celebration of us LGBT+s. And the pink pound is certainly being splashed.
Artists are performing on a small stage in front of the city hall where the bar queue is long. Between performances a DJ is spinning the latest chart hits and people are already dancing; spirits are definitely high and the atmosphere is great as people of all ages join in. We take a tour along the market stalls and my friend manages to pick up a whole bag full of freebies; underwear, water bottle, stickers, posters and endless amounts of sweets are all his after completing quizzes, voting for gay icons and peeing in a cup. Fair play to him.
We stop to reapply sunscreen when a man with a big afro comes up to my friends and I. Do we want to see a magic trick? Hellz yes. Starting out a bit sceptical this young man has us truly fascinated as he picks cards, steals rings and generally blows our minds. How the heck did he do that? We’ll never know.
All possessions returned we grab a quick ice cream to cool ourselves down before the big parade begins. Following the stream of people pouring out of Barker’s Pool we line up outside Lloyd’s Bar and begin the walk down Division Street. Onlookers stand along the sides of the popular shopping strip and cheer us on as we wave our flags. It feels good to see such positivity when it was only weeks ago that the EDL marched down this very road.
It is the highlight of any Pride Week and as much as I’m enjoying it I do find it a shame that the walk is so short and that we don’t have any music to accompany our stroll. Still, with it being the first year that a Pride event is held in the city centre, this is more than alright. Maybe next year we can have floats, music and a longer route. Pretty please?
A large majority of parade goers head into the ticketed Devonshire Green and it gets pretty crammed at the top of Division street as we try to make up our mind on whether to pay entry and join them or not. The Forum is making good money with their beer garden being next to the fenced off festival area, that’s for sure.
Inside the Pride area, shut off to the rest of the city by a tall fence, are more market stalls, ice cream vans, bars and a big stage. People are scattered across the grass, enjoying the entertainment as the day turns into night and the sun just keeps on shining. It is a lovely way to spend an evening but at the same time it is a shame that only those who pay can enjoy this feeling of belonging. Seeing as they are used to a pretty much free Pride event, most of my friends choose not to.
Later that evening we hit up the O2 Academy for the grand finale of Sheffield Pride week and the first impression is that the bass heavy dance hits blasted out by the all male DJ line up are going down a treat with the, you guessed it, large male audience. In fact, a couple of girls instantly come up to us asking where all the girls are at (an no, that’s not during a Nicki Minaj song). It takes ages getting served and a pint of cider costs way too much but we still have a good time and I leave feeling happy with my Pride experience.
Before heading out into the night the DJ announces that he’ll see us all at Dempsey’s after. I conclude that the pink pound will continue to flow.
Personal highlights of the whole Pride week were the Climax PrePride BBQ (doesn’t get much better than sitting in the sun with a cheese and jalapeño topped veggie burger, listening to Caribbean tunes and enjoying the company of my friends) and of course the Pride parade which once more showed what a beautiful city Sheffield really is, inside and out. I’m looking forward to next year already – as long as we can have some female DJs too, thanks.
Did you attend the Climax PrePride party? Upload your picture to Facebook or Twitter and tag yourself and Climax in it to win tickets to go see burlesque musical Miss Nightingale when it comes to Sheffield.
Text: Bella Qvist