12,000 “March with Pride” as organisers announce date for Pride in Liverpool 2020

Thousands of people took to the streets today to celebrate Pride in Liverpool, with a record 12,000 coming together for the annual march – 2,000 more than in 2018 and the largest Pride march the city has ever seen.

The festival’s inaugural Youth Zone, sponsored by the Michael Causer Foundation, was also a roaring success. The designated area was packed throughout the day, as young LGBT+ people and their families enjoyed a free BBQ provided by Bay Tree Catering and the designated area’s chill out zone, acoustic stage and craft activities.

Following the event, Pride in Liverpool organisers also announced the date for Pride in Liverpool 2020 as Saturday 25th July, with other events for next year also still to be revealed.

The theme for this year’s festival was, “Come As You Are”, a year-long theme and programme of events, calling to all people, regardless of where they are from or how they identify, to take pride in their identity and come together in the spirit of friendship, love and respect.

The procession painted the city centre rainbow and they marched in commemoration of the 50th anniversary year of the Stonewall Uprising and in protest against the prejudice and inequalities that the LGBT+ community continues to face, in the UK and across the globe.

The 2019 festival is the first annual Pride festival to be delivered by LCR Pride Foundation, an organisation that was established at the start of the year with the aim of extending the message of pride outside the festival weekend and across all six boroughs of the Liverpool City Region. Its mission is to make the Liverpool City Region the most LGBT+ friendly in the UK.

Following the march, a host of musicians and performers took to the festival’s two stages, both hosted by the team from The Guide Liverpool, for a day of singing, dancing and spectacular performances.

Electropop singer-songwriter and DJ, Little Boots, and Finnish-born X-Factor Dance Like Nobody’s Watching singer, Saara Aalto headlined the Barclays Stage, which had been programmed by Liverpool Sound City, following performances from a host of local performers including Adam Lyons, House of Suarez and the UK’s only RuPaul’s Drag Race Ambassador, The Vivienne.

Over on the LIMF Academy-programmed Showcase Stage, festival goers were treated to a wealth of upcoming local and national talent, including stage headliner and LIMF Academy “Most Ready” Alumnus, Amique, who wowed crowds with his genre-defying performance that fused R&B, Jazz, Soul and Rock.

Claire Simmo and Jay Hynd from the Guide Liverpool, with Saara Aalto (Image by Stefan Price)

As the festival moved into its final performances, there was also an extra special surprise on the Barclays Stage, hosted by The Guide Liverpool’s Jay Hynd and Claire Simmo, as LCR Pride Foundation Co-Founder popped the question to boyfriend Allan Watts – and he said YES!

Speaking from the Barclays Stage, he said:“The last few months Pride has been my life, so now I want to make Pride about you. Allan, will you marry me?

Speaking after the event, LCR Pride Foundation Co-Founder, Andi Herring, said: “Today has been seven months in the planning and we are absolutely overwhelmed by the turnout and show of support from the city.

“For the first Pride in Liverpool that we have delivered to have recorded the largest number of people ever participating in the city’s annual march leaves us even more confident in our mission to make this region the most LGBT+ friendly in the UK.

“We are a small team made up mostly of volunteers, so we would like to extend our thanks to our amazing team, as well as our board of directors, partners and sponsors. Without their belief, dedication and commitment, none of this would be possible.

“We would also like to thank the fabulous people of the Liverpool City Region. We asked them to “Come As You Are” and it did that beautifully.”

Co-Founder, John Bird, added: “It was such a memorable and uplifting day – for quite a few reasons for me in particular!

“The turnout at the march was a return to our grassroots activist roots and a clear statement that, while we can celebrate how far we have come, there is still a great deal to be done. We still need to shout down hatred and fight for equality for all LGBT+ people, in Liverpool and across the world.”

Main image by David Wesley Yates