Liverpool Pride organisers have vowed the festival will return in 2012 despite the city council's plans to cut all funding.
The gay scene at the historic British port city of Liverpool has traditionally been overshadowed by its neighbour, Manchester. However the LGBT community has been more vocal and confident in the last few years, matching the city's own regeneration.
Liverpool Pride is now one of the UK's bigger free Pride festivals, attracting 40,000 people in 2011, double the 2010 figure.
Organisers say it will return on Saturday 4 August 2012 to the main festival site at Pier Head. And Liverpool Pride bosses are working with the Liverpool Gay Business Association to keep a presence in the Gay Quarter too.
With the city council proposing to remove its funding, the organisers are starting their own fundraising earlier than before and have launched the 'Camp as Christmas' night out on 17 December. The event at The Dome, Renshaw Street will star the Diva Fever, a singing duo from talent contest X Factor. The line up will also include writer and comedian Rikki Beadle Blair and local talent including Caz & Brit, Barbieshop, Emma Dears and the city's drag queens.
There are also Liverpool Pride runners taking part in the city’s Santa Dash and a series of smaller fundraising events, to be held throughout 2012. Organisers are asking local businesses and individuals to run fundraising events such as bring and buy sales, cake bake offs and sponsored drag days, walks, runs and any other ways in which they would like to raise money.
To date, Liverpool Pride has already received funding from Merseyside Police Authority for its 2012 soccer project and from the Big Lottery Fund. It is bidding for other grants and trying to raise corporate sponsorship.
James Davies of Liverpool Pride said: 'Although we face some funding cuts due to wider cuts in public spending, we’re determined to make Liverpool Pride 2012 even bigger and better than ever before and can only do that with the help of Liverpool, as a council, as a community and as a business collective. We’re grateful to the city council and to the likes of the European Regional Development Fund as well as our sponsors for all of their support thus far and hope that, despite budget cuts, we can continue to work with them in the coming years.
'We believe that this festival is truly helpful for raising awareness of LGBT issues, specifically reducing homophobia in the city in addition to being good value for money for funders as the festival brings a relatively large amount of money into the city’s economy over the course of the Pride weekend.'
A study completed by Liverpool Pride claimed that 2011’s festival generated a total spend of over £2.6million (US$4million, €3million) for the local economy as people spent money on hotels, travel, clothes, food and drink.