Words: Markus Bidaux
There are over fifty Pride events across the UK over the summer, at least another fifty across Europe, and only Gaga knows how many more around the world.
As we bring you all the hottest destinations for gay travellers in our new February travel issue - available to download and to order globally now - here's our pick of the year’s best celebrations of queer life and love...
BRIGHTON PRIDE (2-4 August)
Brighton Pride is arguably the UK’s best Pride celebration, attracting the likes of Sister Sledge, Carly Rae Jepsen, Pet Shop Boys, Years & Years, Boy George and many more to its stage.
Last year, the announcement of headliner Britney Spears sent shockwaves through the gay community and tickets were at a premium.
Can Brighton Pride generate the same excitement in 2019? We will just have to wait for the announcement of this year’s headliner. But whoever takes the stage will be greeted by a lively atmosphere that only Brighton can provide.
Be sure to get your tickets early for Saturday’s Pride Festival, the Pride Village Party and LoveBN1 Fest, which was launched last year.
REYKJAVIK PRIDE (8-17 August)
Image: Reykjavik Pride
In August Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Pride this year.
The inaugural event in 1999 attracted 1,500 people, but last year it was attended by more than 100,000 revellers.
Reykjavik Pride, or Hinsegin Dagar (Icelandic for queer days), is a 10-day programme of both educational and entertaining events leading up to the parade and outdoor festival on 17 August.
EUROPRIDE VIENNA (1-16 June)
This June, Austria’s capital, Vienna, plays host to the annual EuroPride. It is the perfect city to represent the continent – in 2015, it introduced LGBT+ couples on its pedestrian crossing lights and, more importantly, from 1 January 2019, same-sex marriage has been made legal in Austria – now that is something to celebrate.
Vienna is preparing to welcome one million visitors for its two-week Pride celebration, with a new Pride Park created to help meet demand for accommodation.
The Pride Village will be in its traditional location on City Hall Square, and before the big Rainbow Parade, which circles the Ringstrasse on 15 June, some of the events include a EuroPride run, a Pride beach, a Pride Day at the zoo, guided tours through Vienna’s museums, film evenings and a EuroPride pool day.
SYDNEY GAY AND LESBIAN MARDI GRAS (15 February-3 March)
Image: Jeffrey Feng Photography
Last year, Sydney Mardi Gras celebrated its 40th anniversary and the event is unrecognisable from the first protest in 1978, which ended with arrests and police brutality against the marchers.
That first march was the catalyst for legislation repealing the law which allowed those arrests to happen. It was a major civil rights milestone that led to 3,000 people marching the following year, and the first post-parade parties the next year.
Mardi Gras is now one of Sydney’s biggest events, with more than 500,000 spectators and over 12,000 participants.
Although there is very much a party atmosphere, with marriage equality in Australia having been introduced only a year ago, there is still plenty to march for.
For two weeks before the parade on 2 March, there will be a programme filled with enticing events including cabaret by one of our favourite groups, Briefs, plus theatre, art exhibitions and talks. And, of course, there are going to be more parties than you can shake a didgeridoo at.
WORLDPRIDE NYC (1-30 June)
New York City Pride is one of the city’s highest attended events, but this year the numbers are set to spike, because it will be home to 2019’s WorldPride.
This is truly fitting as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a regular haunt for LGBT+ people, on 28 June 1969 turned into a riot, which sparked the fight for equal rights for the community.
You know this anniversary is going to be a big deal, but if you need more convincing to get to New York City, check out this issue’s FREE travel supplement 101 Things We Love About NYC supported by nycgo.com.