2017 was the year that Hastings Pride came into its own, with a week of events culminating in a day of celebration that included a Parade through the town centre and a Festival at the Oval. Read on to find out more!
The week kicked off in style with a full programme of events across the region, with a Launch Party at On the Rocks on Saturday 19th August, then a screening of the new documentary “Queerama” at the De La Warr Pavilion (complete with poetry from Trudy Howson, LGBT Poet Laureate) on the Sunday. Films were shown throughout the week at a variety of venues, some with additional Q&A sessions attached.
Alongside these cinematic treats were a range of special events, some connected with LGBT+ themes (such as Slam Dunk Poetry‘s Pride Special) and others committed to raising donations for Pride (such as the Disco Fever and Cabaret Night hosted by Power Events).
At 11am on Sunday 27th August 2017, the Hastings Pride Parade set off from South Terrace and wound its way along Queens Road and through the town centre, pausing briefly in Havelock Road for a flashmob display then on to the seafront before travelling up the hill past White Rock and on to the Oval.
The Parade was led by the Dykes on Bikes and featured 60s-themed vehicles from Hastings Borough Council, the Hastings and Rother Rainbow Alliance, the Beatles for Sale tribute band, the East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Sussex Police and a variety of performers, entertainers, and public supporters. The encouragement from the people of Hastings was truly inspiring and the sense of community and acceptance was almost overwhelming!
The main Pride Festival was a delightful smorgasbord of information and entertainment – community stalls, market traders, food outlets, two bars (one specialising in cocktails), and a vintage hand-cranked roundabout for the little’uns.
The Arts Tent featured performances from a choice selection of local poets, comedians, and entertainers and this transformed into a Cabaret Tent as the evening went on.
But the big attraction was the music and entertainment on the main stage. Hosted by Nikki Bockerglory, Son of a Tutu and Cosmic, the day included variety performances from drag artistes and local dance groups as well as speeches from local and LGBT representatives. The music featured 60s-themed tribute bands such as The Doors Alive and The Beatles for Sale although all of the performers added at least one era-specific song to their set.
As well as an outstanding performance from Stooshe, the focus was on local talent and the line-up included Kid Kapichi, Someone/Anyone, Hannah Brown, Oresome Sounds and the headline acts The Earl Grey Band and Kayleigh Ann, who collaborated on the amazing Songs for Pride covers that are available for download for free or by donation (click HERE to go to that page).
The evening concluded with the official After Party at On the Rocks, with additional entertainment at The Palace and with that, Hastings Pride 2017 came to a rousing conclusion!
Why we return to 1967 and the ‘Summer of Love’
Hastings Pride is built on recognising the humanity we all share and celebrating the differences that make us all unique and special, something that we can all celebrate in our coming together.
Standing together under the Rainbow Umbrella
1967 was the beginning of homosexuality being decriminalized and was also the Summer of Love, a social phenomenon that occurred when as many as 100,000 people converged in San Francisco. It was a time for positive change and people coming together to fight social injustice and for equality and exploration of self.
Looking back, we can see a time when people had hope. Going back, we can find inspiration which shows us all that when we come together we can make real and positive change for society and have faith in a better future.
For these reasons, Hastings Pride is honouring the Summer of Love to remind us all where we have come from and to discover where we are going, as one.
Let us remember our past and not forget those who have fought for the rights we enjoy today.
Let us come together under the Rainbow Umbrella, LGBT+ community and our allies, and celebrate the diversity we share in our community or ourselves.
Standing together and united in our love and respect for one another, celebrating the Pride we should all have in who we are.
Peace, Love & Hastings Pride!