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Your interview: Paul Kemp, Pride festival director
2:00pm Sunday 21st July 2013 in News
GERALDINE DES MOULINS from the Fed Centre for Independent Living: Last year there were complaints regarding the lack of BSL (British Sign Language) signing and there has been a lack of information on what provisions will be made on the day, so this will be a huge barrier for disabled people attending.
Can you tell us what facilities there will be to cater for disabled people at this year’s Pride and are you as organisers taking seriously the needs of disabled spectators?
PAUL KEMP (PK): We are currently working to secure BSL signing and identify those with experience of public performance.
Subject to availability and budget we propose to place signers on the main dtage, cabaret tent and access tent.
This is the sixth year that Pride and the Fed Centre for Independent Living have teamed up to improve access to the park and the parade, including special parking, accessible toilet facilities, dedicated viewing areas and many other accessibility improvements throughout Pride that are all detailed in our Pride brochure and on our website at www.brighton-pride.org as well as at www.thefedonline.org.uk.
DAVID WALKER: The Preston Park event was self-financing prior to the last couple of years when it rained.
Introducing security to the event means about half of all funds going towards barricades, security and ticketing administration.
Money has always been raised from those that rent plots for refreshments, food, retail and amusements.
Many local people like myself have boycotted what has long been a community event for all irrespective of ability to pay.
At a minimum available price of £17.50 from now on, why doesn’t Pride go back to its roots and stop seeing it as a musical gig and instead see it as a community get-together and celebration?
(PK): Back when Brighton Pride was free to attend, the average donation was just 20p per head, clearly that could never cover the costs of such a huge festival.
It is a condition of the licenses being granted by both the police and council on health and safety grounds that that the park is fenced and this has added huge cost implications for staging Pride.
Money raised from stalls does not and never has made a huge impact of the financial costs of Pride.
Ticket sales, fundraising and sponsorship raise the essential funds that not only pay for everything you see on the park but also finance the parade and all the other costs that you don’t see such as policing, traffic management, ambulances and PRS music licences etc, as well as helping Pride raise essential funds for our LGBT voluntary sector via the Rainbow Fund.
Locals have been able to buy Pride tickets for as little as £8.50 for a period of five months and for those on even more limited budgets there are a huge number of free Pride events such as Doggy Pride and the Icon’s exhibition at the Jubilee library for everybody to enjoy.
LENA JOHANSSON: Last year I had to queue outside for ages to get a ticket but probably not as long as the people who had already paid and only needed to collect a ticket though for which the queues went all around the park.
Then there was the queue to get into the park – and then once inside the park there was several hours of queues to get into the tents.
In fact, I didn’t manage to get into any of the main tents because of the long wait.
Will this problem be addressed and will it be different under your leadership?
(PK): This year we have introduced a fast track e-ticket system which will greatly reduce the queues seen at previous Prides.
We anticipate that people will find admission a speedier and smoother operation this year than before because of it.
There will of course always be an element of queuing at any event of this size regardless of any strategy that is implemented, but we are confident that we have made great improvements in this area that will enhance everybody’s Pride experience.
PAUL PERRIN: Aren’t there other places in the UK intolerant of homosexuality where a Pride event would have more meaning/impact?
(PK): I am sure there are plenty of communities that can benefit from a Pride.
Perhaps the LGBT communities local to those areas should come together to celebrate in the same way we do here so successfully in Brighton.
JESS BAYLISS: In the UK there is plenty for us to celebrate this year, but the battle isn’t over.
At home, and internationally (in places such as Russia and Nigeria) LGBT people have little to celebrate.
What is Brighton Pride doing to stand in solidarity with LGBT people still facing difficulties?
(PK): At the very core of Brighton Pride is a message of equality, diversity and freedom – that is never forgotten.
We have been able to spread important messages about the plight of international LGBT people and their rights with news stories via social media, keeping everyone abreast of international situations.
We are very proud to be able to announce that leading political campaigner and LGBT supporter Peter Tatchell will be joining us on the main stage on the day itself.
ALICE JOHNSON: If you could have any act to headline Pride next year, who would it be?
(PK): My fantasy act on the main stage would be George Michael, and Dulcie Danger’s choice would be Adele, what a duo that would make.
IVAN LEWIS: Why is so much open drug taking, public urination and sexual activity tolerated at Pride?
(PK): We do not condone any of those things and do not tolerate unsociable behaviour at all.
We always advise people on how to have a safe, happy and healthy Pride but we are unable to force our ideals upon every single member of the public.
It is worth remembering that open drug taking, public urination and sexual activity are not confined to Pride or the LGBT community, they are widespread among the wider community and can be seen weekly in many entertainment areas in the city regardless of sexuality or event.
DAN ROACHFORD: Shouldn’t the new Pride team honour the debts racked up by previous organisers especially in terms of the money owed to Brighton and Hove City Council?
(PK): As a brand new organisation in every way, Pride CIC has not inherited debts from previous organisations and cannot comment on the business of now defunct organisations and individuals.
JAN KEEGAN: Traders around Preston Circus/Preston Road say they will just shut up shop and lose a day’s trading when Pride comes around.
Are they moaning unnecessarily?
(PK): I am sure there are effects to trading in the area.
Some businesses may well see a decline for the one day of Pride but many, many more have a bumper day of sales because of the increased footfall that day. It would be impossible for Pride not to have an impact on trading in the area but I believe that for the most part, that impact is a positive one.
ROB HEALE: How are the traffic schemes in Brighton and Hove likely to be affected by the Pride Parade this year?
(PK): Pride employs a professional traffic management consultant and work in partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council Highways and the police to ensure appropriate rolling road closures throughout the parade route.
Warning signs are erected in advance and roads closed and re-opened systematically and to precise timings in order to minimise disruption to bus services and motorists.
Finally from all the Pride team, we wish you a very happy Pride 2013.
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