One of the largest events on the North East calendar will return this year, but will be heading in a brand new direction.
Traditionally Northern Pride has been held on the outskirts of the city, having taken place at both Exhibition Park and the Town Moor in previous years.
But organisers unveiled today (Thursday 25 January) ambitious plans for 2024, which will make the event even more inclusive than ever before.
Pride in the City was announced at a breakfast launch this morning, moving the annual festival into a number of locations across Newcastle city centre over the weekend of 19-21 July.
Under the theme “unapologetically visible” the aim now is to bring around 80,000 people to Newcastle during the Pride weekend, by bringing all the festival favourites right into the heart of the city.
Director of Northern Pride, Ste Dunn, outlined the plans to an audience of supporters and the business community at today’s launch event held at Northern Stage.
“Our mission is clear. We’re using our festival to highlight the vibrant and beautiful queer community, the valuable impact they have on society and the richness of their talents, from makers and creators, to performers and activists,” he said.
“This will also be a fantastic opportunity so spread the Pride message across the city which in turn will also benefit both the event and the local economy.”
The plans will see Central Park at Times Square become the Northern Pride Arena, with the first wave of artists will be announced in the coming weeks.
On Saturday, the Curious Arts Stage will this year move to Northern Stage, where a full programme of queer art and culture will be performed.
The Family and Youth Zone will be housed in the recently refurbished Assembly Rooms at Westgate Road where there will be a host of activities including arts and crafts sessions aimed at LGBTQIA+ families and young people, as well as live performances.
The Health and Wellbeing Zone will be based at Newcastle City Centre, where a range of organisations will offer advice and support, along with a mobile sexual health clinic with STI and HIV testing.
Continuing its commitment to giving LGBTQIA+ people more access to sport, Northern Pride’s Sport and Active Life Zone will take place at Northumbria University’s Sport, where a number of taster sessions and general information about sporting activities will be available.
The Rainbow Village, which traditionally host a number of market stalls sharing information and selling a range of unique products, will also return, staged around Grey’s Monument, Old Eldon Square and Blackett Street.
“This is a very different look to Northern Pride but our core messages remain the same,” said Ste.
“We have included everything that people expect at Pride – including our march which will begin and end at Newcastle Civic Centre.
“We truly believe that this will move Northern Pride to the next level and that we are creating something very special.”
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Kemp, has supported the ambitious plans.
“Pride is always a very important event and one which Newcastle City Council is always very proud to support,” he said.
“Bringing it right into the heart of Newcastle will mean more people than ever before can get involved and it will truly become a citywide celebration.”
Anyone wanting to be among the first to hear updated news is encouraged to register at www.northern-pride.com
All existing ticket holders will receive an email today (25 Jan) explaining how to validate their ticket for the Northern Pride Arena.