Pride Cymru, the annual festival celebrating the LGBTI community in Cardiff, UK, might face an uncertain future.
The event moved from its original location, Bute Park, to the Civic Centre, around City Hall, last year.
The change was made to accommodate the UEFA Champions League final, disputed in Cardiff on 3 June 2017. Pride Cymru was able to obtain the location at a cut price on that specific occasion.
However, this year Cardiff Council is allegedly looking for upwards of £90,000 to host the event at the Civic Centre again. It is believed the majority of costs would be due to loss of parking revenue.
The sum exceeds the completely voluntary-led event’s budget.
The old location is too small for Pride Cymru
The council says it is trying to negotiate with Pride Cymru to keep costs at the Civic Centre down. Alternatively, the council suggested the festival moved back to Bute Park if the organizers wanted it to.
Pride Cymru said it would be ‘unsustainable’ for them to move back to Bute Park now that the attendees of the LGBTI event have grown in number.
The event, which costs £500,000 a year to run, also attracts in 50,000 people to the city and contributes £1.2m to the local economy. For comparison, Bute Park can host up to just 12,000 people.
‘The intention was to promote Cardiff and encourage tourism here. If they are putting barriers up we will have to start questioning what is the problem,’ Lu Thomas, chair of Pride Cymru, told WalesOnline.
‘If they insist we need to pay this £90,000 bill, Pride is in no position at all to pay that. The event is unsustainable and we will have to close. If they insist we’re going back to Cooper’s Fields [in Bute Park], Pride Cymru closes. It’s about numbers.’
Future Prides in Cardiff might be in danger
This year’s event will take a different route and not walk through Queen Street. Despite the controversies, it will still take place on 24-26 August at the Civic Centre. Nonetheless, future Prides might be in danger.
The council said they made clear that ‘last year’s event was a one-off in terms of the council being able to subsidize the festival to the same level’.
‘We have offered the organizers the use of City Hall Lawns and Alexandra Gardens free of charge, but we do need to negotiate the losses to car parking revenue that the festival will cost us,’ they told WalesOnline.
On the other hand, Pride Cymru claim it is taking half the parking space it did for last year’s event.
Thomas also accused the council to have stepped back from a five-year deal with Pride Cymru made last year to host the festival at the Civic Centre in order to grow the event.
It would be unfair to treat one organization differently
‘A festival with a big footprint, taking up more space over more days will clearly have higher cost implications. We are currently talking through these costs with the organizers, looking at ways they can be reduced,’ a spokesperson for the council said.
‘[…] we are in a really difficult position when it comes to funding or accepting losses on events of this scale and it would be unfair, in this context, to treat one organization any differently to another.’