Canal Street Online Manchester

Happy Valley Pride 2017

Happy Valley Pride 2017

We’re lucky enough to have a ton of Prides to enjoy this summer in the North West. Up in Hebden Bridge, there is Pride revolution taking place which is worth a look.

Launched by local hero Sally Wainwright in March 2016, Happy Valley Pride was a resounding success in August 2016 taking over the Town Hall along with events all over the town. Well they are back with gusto this year with a ton of exciting stuff, making the 40 minute train ride to the beautiful town a must this August.

Chris Park chats to organiser Mike Stephens and got the low down on the forthcoming festival.

How did last year’s festival go?

It was amazing. It was the first year ever having a Hebden Bridge Pride and the support from the community and businesses made it a wonderful event, especially considering there was just four of us and volunteers.

It was a nightmare in terms of stress levels and afterwards I said never again, but after a week or so when I realised the positive effect it had had I knew we had to do it again.

What can people expect this year?

It will be bigger and better. This year we are taking over a whole street and having an outdoor festival on the Saturday from 11.00 – 6.00. 

We’ve got some big events like Zoe Lyons, The Bright Black, Honeyfeet and Bourgeois & Maurice who are celebrating their 10th anniversary, they will be touring the UK and we are getting a sneak preview of this. 

There will be films shown in the Hebden Bridge Picture House. Peter Tatchell, who was with us last year, will return. He loves it and says it’s his holiday so he’ll be here all weekend and there is Listen With Mother an interactive cabaret with local transvestite Leslie Davidoff.

On the Sunday it is my favourite, the Pink Picnic and the Pink Pooch Parade. The sun will definitely be out, it has to be.

You hold monthly socials, what do you feel these have brought to the town?

It has absolutely stimulated friendships. When we launched there were groups of people who didn’t really know each other and now they are all good friends.

It is about having sun in a safe space.

Your discos are becoming legendary, anything else in the pipeline?

There will be more discos definitely. The theme of this year’s Pride is Heroes so we are having a Heroes Disco with Red Helen as DJ, playing people like George Michael.

We will definitely do other events over the next year.

Where would you like to see the festival in five years time

I’d love to get Beth Ditto to headline. 

Next year we are putting in an Arts Council bid to allow us to get higher profile artists. We are definitely about serving the local interests and I see this as a real opportunity to become an alternative Queer Festival exploring queer arts and the queer movement.

Happy Valley Pride is running from 7th to 13th August and tickets for events are available now via link below

By Chris Park for Canal St Online

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Published: 13-Jul-2017

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