New company set to rescue Brighton Pride

New company in bid to rescue Brighton Pride
New company in bid to rescue Brighton Pride

A new company is bidding to take over Brighton Pride this year, after its organisers revealed severe financial difficulties threatened the festival's future.

The new company, Pride Brighton and Hove, has submitted a rival bid against current organiser Pride South East to run the annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) festival, which is one of the UK’s largest.

It says it would donate all profits from the event to LGBT groups and ringfence £1 from each ticket sale for local charities.

As Event reported in February, Pride South East revealed it was experiencing dramatic financial problems due to a rejected VAT refund.

Pride Brighton and Hove was formed by Paul Kemp of Aeon Events, leisure investment firm Stagfleet and James Ledward, editor of Gscene Magazine.

Ledward told Event: "The purpose of a Pride event has traditionally been to raise money for our LGBT community. For the last four years they have not received a penny."

"When it became clear that the present people running Pride had run up significant debts this year, Stagfleet approached me and asked if I would consider a not-for-profit community interest company with them."

Current organiser Pride South East has submitted a proposal to the council for a festival in Preston Park without the usual parade through the city, while the new company’s proposal includes a parade.

Ledward said: "The parade is really important to the event because it is the focus of everything. When all the tourists come down they might not want to pay money to go to the park. We need to have the parade if we’re going to have visibility in the city for lesbian and gay people."

The decision on which group will stage the event will be taken at a cabinet members meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council on 6 March.

The council told Event: "The recommendation is to grant landlords' consent to Pride Brighton & Hove to stage both the parade through the city, and a fenced and ticketed Pride Festival in Preston Park."

It added: "Pride is an important event for the city - not only for residents and visitors but also the economy. While Pride is not a council-run event, the local authority works closely with the police, the fire brigade, residents and local businesses to ensure Pride is successful and safe."

Pride South East declined to comment further this morning.

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