Pride in London creative producer Tom Knight reveals to Dave Cross why he’s excited for the big day, why Pride still matters, and how you can attend Pride’s exclusive VIP Afterparty.
Hi Tom, we are a week away from Pride in London, how’s it going?
Hey Dave, it’s going really well, thanks. Things are a little bit crazy, but a lot of fun. The Pride in London Festival is in full swing. I can’t believe how quickly it’s all come round. We’ve had such a great reaction to the campaign, Festival, pop up shop – at 72 Old Compton Street – and the stage line ups. It’s amazing to see Pride slowly taking over the city – I really can’t wait for the big weekend!
Can you explain for our readers what it is you do for Pride?
I’m a producer for the stages where I help shape the line ups, recruit, organise and lead the teams running backstage, as well as being the creative producer for events, where I lead on afterparties and a number of other Festival events. I’m also the head judge of our talent competition #PridesGotTalent.
We are thrilled to learn that Pride in London is organising its own afterparty events, what can you tell us about the main one?
Yes, it’s all very exciting. We have a number of our own events this year and hundreds of events as part of the Festival. Our main closing event is the Official Pride in London VIP Afterparty, with music from Gok Wan, Smokin Jo, the Freemasons, Chris Brogan, Charlie Holland and Stewart Who?. The event is fully inclusive and accessible, and it’s being held at a top secret location in zone one at a fabulous venue spread over two floors with roof terraces and stunning views of the city. It’s going to be the perfect end to the day; it’s where I’ll be celebrating.
Why the secrecy over the venue and when will you reveal it?
It’s part of our agreement with the venue. It’s a high profile event and we want to be respectful to their existing clientele – and who doesn’t like a bit of mystery? We’ll be announcing the venue Pride week, so keep a look out. One things for sure, you won’t be disappointed.
Is it safe to say that if you’ve been in Soho or at Trafalgar Square it’s easy to get to?
It’s a short walk or one stop on the Tube from both. It’s in the heart of Covent Garden so very central and easy to get to.
What other events are you involved in?
The Science Museum takeover, Pride at Black’s, and the Clapham Grand’s afterparty to name a few. This year’s Festival is packed full of diverse events, so it’s all hands on deck.
What other events would you recommend going to in the Pride in London Festival?
There are so many to choose from it’s really hard to pick. The ones I wouldn’t miss are the Science Museum takeover, Pride in London Talent Sessions and the V&A LGBTQ Tour.
And what are you going to be doing on the actual day?
I’ll be starting at about 6.30am leading the backstage teams. I have about 50 people to manage so it’s a little crazy first thing. Once we’ve got the stages and back of house set up I take a step back and let my teams do their job. My day will then mainly consist of dealing with the press, working with our comms/social media teams getting content, making sure the stages are running smoothly and looking after our guests and VIPs. In the afternoon I’ll be introducing a few of our #PridesGotTalent acts and then speaking on Trafalgar Square as an activist and campaigner. I also get to introduce Courtney Act, which I’m chuffed about; I love what she stands for. Then at around 7pm I head off to the mystery afterparty to get things set up and ready, spend a few hours there hosting, and then it’s on to the Clapham Grand to end my day. It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well.
What are you looking forward to most?
I really can’t wait for Trafalgar Square this year. We have Alyssa Edwards, Courtney Act, SuRie, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, George Shelly, Sinitta, The Lion King, Aladdin, a full orchestra and so much more. Then there is the DIVA stage at Leicester Square, who always put on a great show, our cabaret and family stages, and the Parade, which is going to be insanely good this year. Pride in London always has such an incredible vibe, I can’t wait to take over the city for the day. Make sure you take a look on our site/app, there’s so much going on all over the capital.
This year’s theme is #PrideMatters, but can you sum up why it still does?
Pride matters because the fight is far from over. Hate crimes are on the up, mental health, HIV, racism and homelessness are still very real issues. If that’s the situation in countries where it’s supposedly ‘equal’, imagine what it’s like in the 72 where being gay is illegal. Until the global LGBTQ community are free to be themselves without fear of persecution, we march, we celebrate, and we protest.