TUNBRIDGE WELLS Pride is set to return ‘bigger and better’ this year following the success of the inaugural march last year which saw more than a thousand people joining the parade.
Taking place over the both days of the weekend starting August 18, as opposed to just the Sunday, event organisers are gearing up for another colourful display of solidarity with the town’s LGBTQ community.
Reprising her role as head of the organising committee is 27-year-old Jazz Alexander who has high expectations for the coming event including the closure of the town centre to allow the parade to pass,
“We like to think more people will come this year. We have more volunteers, it is going to be over two days and we have secured a later license at The Forum so the after party on the Sunday can go on until 1am. We aim for it to be bigger and better,” she said.
Although the group are keeping the list of acts they have contacted to play at the event a secret for now, Ms Alexander said among the entertainers will be the Glitterbombshell dancers – a popular drag act which headlined at Canterbury Pride last year.
The fact the Tunbridge Wells festival has attracted the attention of its longer established counterparts elsewhere in the region is a clear sign of how highly regarded the latest addition to the scene is.
“A lot of the prides in Kent love the fact that we raise all our own money and do not rely on advertisers.
“As an organisation we want to ensure it is made by the local community for the local community. We don’t want to be pushing the message of corporate sponsors although we will be advertising our pride more this year.
“Ultimately we just want to raise awareness. Although last year was really successful, many people still did not know about it,” Ms Alexander explained.
Perhaps the largest endorsement, and sign that Tunbridge Wells is now fully on board, will come if Ms Alexander is successful in ensuring the town centre can be closed to traffic on August 18 to allow the march to go through.
Last year saw the colourful procession start at The George pub, work its way along Mount Ephraim before descending across the common to The Forum.
This year’s preferred route would take it along Grosvenor road and Mount Pleasant.
“If anyone wants to make a float, we say go wild,” added Ms Alexander, who believes the process of getting the road closure – a prerogative of the council – was ‘about 90 per cent’ complete.’
A spokesman for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council said: “We have been contacted by the organisers of the march who have updated us about their plans and we are working with them.”