Nouse visits York Pride Festival 2023


Chris Stapleton reports on York Pride Festival 2023

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Image by Gracie Daw

By Chris Stapleton

On Saturday 3 June Nouse attended York’s annual pride festival. The day began and continued with glorious heat and sunshine to mark the occasion. At 10:00am the city awoke, preparing itself with the festivities to come. This saw hotels, bars, and shops draped with pride flags, as well as stalls handing out flags and merch.

Prior to the parade, members from city radio stationYO1 Radiocould be seen hurrying around, as could other media groups such asYor-kMix, preparing and setting up coverage for the grand event. Before the parade, citizens and those who would soon join the walk to Knavesmire gathered together, handing out miniature pride flags and some bearing fabric ones as capes. An array of colourful t-shirts could also be seen, as well as dyed hair, imbuingYork with pride.

At 11:00 am, members from YSTV, celebrating the occasion, could be seen interviewing citizens and members from the copious groups who were waiting to attend the parade. This involved city sports teams such as the York City Rowing Club and the rugby team, as well as members from the police and fire departments who wore slogans such as ‘Po-lice with pride’. Multiple police vans, fire engines, and ambulances could also be seen painted with splendorous pride décor.

Outside of the Minster, there was a large screen connected to speakers, providing footage from parades of years gone by, and music which would get everyone in the spirit. At 12:00pm, the walk from the Minster began, going down Parliament Street, across High Ousegate, along Bishopthorpe Road, and ending Knavesmire. Music blasted from the YO1 Radiovan, featuring songs such as ‘I Want To Break Free’ and ‘I Am What I Am’, as members from the radio team handed out free flags. The team was also joined by Alex Johnson from Face Paint York, who painted free pride flags on anyone in the parade. Local companies such as the Yorkshire Soap Company were also present, handing out branded balloons which put smiles on the faces of many children.

Leading the parade were the UK’sown RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Kitty Scott-Claus and Veronica Green, whose presence brought even more energy to the hour-and-a-half-longwalk, giving interviews and selfies to all who asked.

Throughout the city, residents not taking part in the parade could be seen standing on balconies, sat out in their gardens, and cheering on from the pavement, all waving flags and showing their support. It was clear that many families had put incredible amounts of effort into decorating their homes, proving York to be once more a wonderfully accepting and supportive city.

Additionally, there were a variety of groups, such as community choirs singing from pavements, once more expressing their support. At 1:30 pm, the parade arrived in Knavesmire, the energy still high despite the long walk in the sweltering heat, where there were fairground rides, music stages, food stalls, and marquees.

The main stage saw performances from Steps star Claire Richards, as well as Kitty Scott-Claus, Veronica Green, Jaymi Hensley, and PussycatDoll Kimberly Wyatt. With each performance, the crowd went wild.YO1 Radio also had its own stage on which local talent gave stunning performances moderated by their own DJs, and guests such as Veronica Green were interviewed. Many guests bought food from the popular York Roast Co, which was also present at the event.

At 7pm, the event came to an end, with music dying down and marquees packing away their stalls. However, the enjoyment did not end, and soon after Ziggy’s hosted a fun-filled after-party. At 10pm the dance floor opened for an exciting night hosted by drag queen Elsie Duchess.