Pride awaits key decision from Brighton and Hove councillors

The current organisers of the annual Pride festival in Brighton and Hove are expected to receive a significant vote of confidence from councillors later this week.

Backing is expected to be given to the headline events in Preston Park and St James’s Street up to and including 2026.

Brighton Pride Community Interest Company (CIC) already has permission to run the event in principle next year.

The CIC cancelled the 30th anniversary celebration this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday (18 June) Brighton and hove City Council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee is being asked to allow the fenced and ticketed events in public spaces until 2026.

Officials have recommended granting permission and councillors are expected to vote in favour.

In November 2014, councillors agreed that Brighton Pride CIC would run the event until 2020.

Annual Pride events include the Community Parade, the Preston Park Festival, the Pride Village Party and the Pride dog show. The CIC also hosts a campsite at Waterhall.

Councillors are also being asked to allow officials to agree cost-sharing arrangements until 2024.

A council report said: “BPCIC has managed and run a safe and well-organised event for several years.

“This is particularly apparent with the Pride Village Party. Following concerns in 2013 that the event was becoming unmanageable, Pride took over the running and introduced a fenced-off ticketed area, resulting in a more manageable and safer event.

“In 2020, due to the covid-19 pandemic, Pride has been cancelled. Due to the cancellation and the uncertainty going forward, BPCIC and officers have had discussions about arrangements initially for 2021 and then beyond.

“It is recognised that an event of this size does impact on council services, in terms of additional direct costs, loss of revenues and additional officer time.

“Although committee previously agreed to the council absorbing these costs in 2017, council budgets have seen significant reductions over the last few years and it is appropriate to work with BPCIC to agree to a full cost-sharing arrangement.”

Picture by Chris Jepson

The council covers the cost of Prides’s licence to use Preston Park. The CIC also does not pay to use Old Steine. Individual businesses pay the fee for St James’s Street.

In total the council expects Brighton Pride CIC to pay £94,000 but will absorb a further £105,000 in costs over four years.

Pride is estimated to be worth £20 million to the Brighton and Hove economy each year, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the street parade and more than 50,000 to Preston Park.

Events managed by the CIC cover csts of £4 million through ticket sales, sponsorship and concessions.

The CIC currently has reserves of slightly less than £600,000.

Since 2013 Pride has raised nearly £1 million for charities and community groups.

Pride covers the £60,000 cost of cleaning up the spaces that it uses but not the surrounding streets but it organised a beach clean last year.

The council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee’s “virtual” meeting is due to start at 4pm on Thursday (18 June) and is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

  1. Richard Morrison-Evans Reply

    The pubs and clubs shouldn’t charge in St James St.
    They make enough with over charging there drinks in Brighton Pride.
    The Brighton community keeps them going over winter months

  2. Anonymous Reply

    There is little to no communication between the people that live in Brighton and the decisions that the councilors make. They have private conversations and cut us out of every debate.
    I would challenge them to conduct a survey and see how locals feel about what Pride has become.
    Its become a commercial event, not a festival. One time it was a celebration where families would be able to amble around town and enjoy the ceremony waving flags. It was a musical parade. Today it is completely different. Now our city gets littered, trains and buses are full to the brim, and worst of all, it is a paid event. Pride should be free for all. People are traveling from across the country for these performances whether or not they are part of the LGBTQ+ community. The original heart of pride is completely lost in place of capitalistic greed. Many people will be staying in their houses because they cannot take part anymore and it is no longer enjoyable.

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