The committee and I would like to simply say, thank you, thank you to 2022.
Since February 2020, it’s been an incredibly turbulent time for the team and for us as a charity. Navigating the pandemic, with highs and lows, delivering not one but two virtual prides, one bigger and more refined than the last and the launch of our new concept Ouseburn Family Pride, definitely outweigh the lows… but coming back to an in-person programme for 2022 got us all excited!
What we didn't predict, was the amount of challenges we’d face as a non for profit and voluntary-led, events-based charity. Of course, our challenges were not necessarily unique to us, they were mirrored across not only the festival and events landscape, but of those from our wider UK Pride Organisers Network community. With supply and demand meaning we struggled with contractors fulfilling our requests and our costs increasing by over 30%.
So why are we thankful for 2022?
Well, we saw our community come together in force and with louder voices than ever! During our UK Pride weekend, sponsored by Barclays, we welcomed over 70,000 people to the Town Moor as we occupied more space thanks to our good friends at The Freemen of Newcastle. Our campaign to Remember, Resist and Rise Up truly came to life as we heard the sounds of over 25,000 voices calling for trans rights during our march which was led by and dedicated to the trans, non binary, and gender-diverse community, sponsored by NE1.
We wanted to ensure we elevated and celebrated the LGBTQIA+ community throughout the event with over 90% of all performers, artists, creatives and campaigners who took to one of four stages, being from the community and from the North East.
Something we’ll continue to champion, and applications for next year are already flooding in!
We took the learns from our two incredibly successful virtual events and brought the festival to people's homes with our Live at Pride broadcasts, with thanks to our sponsor SmurfitKappa. We had a reach of over 275,000 and over 20,000 viewers engaging on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. A huge thank you to our media solutions partner, DW Media, and our hosts Journals of Dami and MXYM.
As we took up more land, we were able to deliver more zones to the festival, with the introduction of a Sports Zone showcasing our amazing inclusive sports clubs from around the region. Our partnership with LGBT Northern Social Group grew with the introduction of their own community zone featuring our changing facilities to make it safer for people to travel to and from the event.
With thanks to our Travel Partner, Nexus and Tyne and Wear Metro, we were able to enhance our accessibility offering with track matting making it easier for wheelchair uses to move around site, our raised platform and BSL interrupters returned, along with our high dependency unit and we introduced rentable ear protection for those that needed it.
Our UK Pride campaign obtained global attention with a combined reach of over 442 million and 7.2 million views of our stories in the local and national press.
Away from the festival, we saw some fantastic partnerships come to life, with the fundraising support of organisations like IKEA Gateshead, Amazon Gateshead, Home Bargains, Junk Yard Golf, Newcastle Thunder and many others. We were also able to sell over 8,000 pieces of merchandise, from badges to bags, to our regular lanyards, sponsored by NE1 and our wristbands, sponsored by Eldon Square; which saw wearers claim some fantastic discounts across the shopping centre. This doesn't include the merchandise sold through our partnership with Powder Butterfly and their collection (still onsite now!)
All the monies raised were used to offset the cost of the festival to ensure it remains free for all to attend. Something we’re determined to work hard to maintain, even whilst we see costs raise and disposable income decrease.
We know that as we head into 2023, we’ll continue to see challenges in delivering our events based activity but we are as always grateful to have the support of so many of our community, partners, supporters and sponsors.
There are many ways in which you can help us keep our promise to Protect, Promote and Provide for the regions LGBTQIA+ community.
You too can hold a fundraising event like those that did this year, you can buy merchandise with new products and new designs landing regularly. You can encourage your employer or company to sponsor a part of the festival, one of our satellite events or campaigns. Or even book our new Proud Allies training in partnership with our good friends Curious Arts. You could purchase a Platinum Pass and take advance of our new and improved Platinum experience with thanks to our returning sponsor, Bobbys Newcastle. You could also apply to take part in the festival, from performing to delivering workshops. You could run a market stall, and walk in the March. You could join our team as a volunteer or part of the organising group.
The possibilities are endless!
So it is fair to say, for an incredibly hard year, we have a lot to be grateful for! So as we say, thank you 2022, we get ready to welcome 2023.
The political and social landscape is tough for our community right now and thats why we’re more determined than ever to ensure our events, campaigns and outreach work focuses on amplifying the voices of our community throughout the year, with our festival returning July 22nd to 23rd and our mission the same, to remember our past, resist oppression and rise up to challenge and fight for equal rights for all.
I hope you’ll join us.
Ste Dunn, Northern Pride Director and the Northern Pride Committee.