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Pride street party to be ticketed this year
Pride's legendary street party is set to be a ticketed event for the first time in its history.
Festival bosses will take control of the St James' street party this year and plan to introduce a wristband system.
Last year it was estimated that 30,000 people flocked to the enclosed confines of St James' Street for the Gay Village Party and organisers say the new system will mean a smaller, more manageable and safer gathering.
It could mean bars and shops will only sell alcohol to those with wristbands while access to St James' Street and Marine Parade will be restricted from 4pm on Saturday August 2.
Pride director Paul Kemp is urging supermarkets in the area, who traditionally make tens of thousands of pounds from sales during the Pride weekend, to sign up to the scheme and contribute to the costs of marshalling it.
The wristbands would cost £5 for both the Saturday and Sunday with £1 from sales going to the Rainbow Fund and covering additional expenses of security and toilet facilities.
Partygoers would not be allowed to bring alcohol or glass into the village party.
The one-year trial, which would be managed by Brighton Pride Community Interest Company and is currently subject to a consultation, will see The Pride Village Party held from 6pm on Saturday and between 2pm and 8pm on Sunday.
Residents, business and workers in the area would receive free wristbands for the weekend.
With the added responsibility of the village party to organise, Pride Brighton and Hove have shelved plans for additional events in Preston Park scheduled for the Friday and Sunday this year.
Mr Kemp said he hoped that by controlling partygoers it would lead to a similar reduction in trouble as the ticketing of Preston Park which saw a 50% drop in medial and safety issues last year.
He added: “Traditionally, the Village Party has not been organised by Pride.
“However, after safety concerns that could ultimately jeopardise the future of the Village Party, Pride has agreed to work in partnership with the city council and partners to reclaim the Village Party for our community and to help ensure we have a safer and controlled event for visitors to Pride and our community to enjoy.
“We know there will be a backlash and we know this is controversial but we need to resolve the street party issue.”
Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chair of Brighton and Hove City Council's economic development and culture committee, said over the years the street party had become “more problematic” with “uncontrolled access and irresponsible attitudes to alcohol” turning the celebration into “a nightmare”.
He added: “If there isn't 100% support, particularly from the business community, the whole of the Pride Festival could be in jeopardy.”
A letter has been sent out to residents this week and a public meeting on the proposals will be held at Dorset Gardens Methodist Church next Wednesday from 7pm.
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