With acts including Conchita Wurst, Gok Wan, Livin’ Joy and Danny Beard, plus a rainbow flag parachute jump, 50-metre foam slide and more, Isle of Wight Pride is back for a second year next Saturday (21 Jul) and it’s three times bigger than last year’s debut. Here, Isle of Wight Pride’s Matthew Bundy explains more.
Hi Matt, were you pleased with how last year’s Isle of Wight Pride debut went?
We were blown away with how big an impact our first year had. We never dreamed that it would be as big as it was and drew support from across the entire island. To hear anecdotes and stories about the strength Pride gave to individuals, to come out for the first time and to feel comfortable being who they are was truly heartwarming and made it all worthwhile.
How are the preparations for this year’s Isle of Wight Pride going?
We’re UK Pride this year too, which has given us added pressures. We always knew that we wanted to build on last year’s successes but it’s now going to be three times bigger than last year. Plans are going well though and we are nearly there!
Can you talk us through what to expect on the day, starting with the Parade?
Our main day will start the moment people step foot on the ferries to come over! All the ferry companies and the hovercraft have been hugely supportive, and there will be an incredible atmosphere on board. At 11am we have a special parachute jump with a large rainbow flag, followed by our Parade at midday. Our main event is on the beach, so everyone is invited to join us on a sandy beach to celebrate, love and learn about Pride.
Where is the main event taking place?
The main event is on Ryde Harbour Beach, with so many different things to do, including our information stalls featuring charities from across the country, children’s zone, cabaret tent, dance stage and our main stage.
And you have Conchita this year?
Yes, this was a big coup for us. We are so proud that Europride Vienna 2019 have chosen us as their UK Pride to support, and as part of that support Conchita is attending as their ambassador. She’s an amazing artist and we can’t wait to see her perform. We have also partnered up with the National AIDS Map to raise awareness of the U=U campaign, and Jonathan Blake will be introducing Conchita on stage on his 69th birthday!
Apart from the stages etc, what else is there?
We have a funfair this year, food stalls, a mix of political, charity, information and local stalls, cabaret tent, and a wellness area with the Ventnor Botanic Gardens. There’s so much to do.
What happens after the main party?
Our main event runs until 10pm. We haven’t organised our own afterparty this year but there are two who we have worked in collaboration with, one at Fever and Boutique in Newport and one at The Balcony bar in Ryde. Then the day after Pride, we have the Ryde Slide, a 50-metre water slide down the steep main high street of Ryde!
For those who have never been to the Isle of Wight, how easy is it to get to from London?
I commute daily to London for my job and I wouldn’t be able to do that unless it was incredibly simple. A South Western Railway train down to Portsmouth and then hop on a 10-minute hovercraft directly into Ryde, or on a slightly longer Catamaran. All ferry and hovercraft operators are giving huge discounts for Pride and South Western Railway have also just announced a big discount to help you travel to Pride.