Brighton Pride organizers have responded to a headliner cancelling, and claims of kettling from Queers Against Cuts
Pop star and X Factor winner Alexandra Burke cancelled her performance at Brighton and Hove Pride on Saturday (1 September).
The ‘Bad Boys’ singer, who was a headline act for the gay festival held in the British seaside city, pulled out after her technical team said they were unsatisfied with the venue.
Director of Brighton and Hove Pride Trevor Edwards told Gay Star News negotiations had broken down in the late afternoon after her management’s new requirements could not be accommodated.
He said: ‘It was looked at her playing in the dance tent which is where Fatboy Slim played and where Freemasons played, but that didn’t meet her new requirements either.
‘So reluctantly, we were informed that she wasn’t going to play.’
‘It was as much of a disappointment to us as it was to the people waiting to see her,’ Edwards added.
Burke, who performed in Cardiff the same night, tweeted: ‘Hey Guys, due to circumstances out of my control I’m unable to perform at Brighton Pride today, so sorry guys.’
Despite the disappointment, Edwards told GSN the organizers have had lots of positive feedback so far, which he said was remarkable because they did it in only 24 weeks.
The director said: ‘People realized they had bought tickets for Pride. It’s fantastic that we have support from people like the Freemasons, Fatboy Slim, and there was over a hundred performers at the women’s tent, and there were loads of cabaret artists.
‘After all, I think that Pride is more than just one person.’
Edwards also responded to criticism from anti-government group Queers Against Cuts (QUAC) who claimed they were kettled and persistently harassed.
‘There seemed to have been trouble before the parade moved off – with our section mysteriously being moved to the back of the parade.’ said Richard Farnos, London QUAC Co-Convenor.
Farnos said a ‘belligerent steward’ began making trouble with the group. When latecomers attempted to join in the parade, Farnos said people were ‘physically thrown back into the crowds.’
Edwards responded by saying police had to be there simply because of traffic management issues, and QUAC had signed a contract of terms and conditions which meant organizers could move the order of parading groups.
When asked if Edwards thought QUAC felt they had been unnecessarily policed, he said: ‘Well [QUAC]’s actions, as seen by them being abusive to the parade volunteers meant we were obviously going to keep an eye on them.
‘They weren’t being policed, they were just asked to move to the back of the parade.’
Renowned gay rights activist Peter Tatchell agreed with QUAC, who said there was no justification for the way the group was mistreated.
He said: ‘No other political contingent was abused in this way. It marred what was otherwise a brilliant parade.’
Brighton organizers are now looking to next year’s festival, which they have a full 52 weeks to plan, with promises to look at the feedback and make Pride ‘bigger and better’.
Edwards hoped next year will be more family friendly, and include more cultural events in other parts of the city.
He said: ‘I think we pulled it off quite well, as people definitely seemed to enjoy it. It will go from strength to strength.’