Paul Kemp on the challenge of staging Brighton and Hove Pride

Paul Kemp with co-director Dulcie Weaver (Photo by Chris Jepson)

Paul Kemp with co-director Dulcie Weaver (Photo by Chris Jepson) - Credit: Archant

Paul Kemp is managing director of Brighton and Hove Pride, which returns this year 5-7 August. Paul tells Harry Maddock why staging the event is a full-time job

As managing director of the UK’s biggest Pride festival, Paul Kemp is a busy man. “Since I formed a new organisation with my co-director Dulcie Weaver we have worked hard to build Brighton and Hove Pride’s reputation as one of the UK’s leading campaigning and community fundraising Prides,” says Paul.

This year will be no different with plenty planned for the weekend of 5-7 August. “This year we’ll be adding Old Steine and Victoria Gardens to the Pride Festival activities right in the centre of the city”, adds Paul, “featuring parties from Sink the Pink and Dynamite Boogaloo as well as a special concert from Heather Peace and Lucy Spraggan.”

Such locations make Brighton and Hove perfect for an event like Pride as Paul explains: “Brighton and Hove is known for the diversity of our communities and the contribution to the LGBT community.

“Pride is the single most popular visitor attraction in the city’s annual event calendar. It’s a time when everyone comes together to celebrate the unique character of Brighton and Hove.”

Paul has always had an interest in theatre shows and production which continue to provide inspiration. “All of that production experience has helped form the Pride Festival in Preston Park.” It’s that very inspiration that ultimately culminates in those memorable moments. Every year films play on the main stage screens and last year, when Pride celebrated 25 years in the city of Brighton and Hove, “seeing more than 40,000 people watch the film in almost silence and then erupt in cheers before the finale was really quite moving.”

Once it’s all over, Pride has an awards ceremony at the Hilton Brighton Metropole where the organisation gives away money raised over the weekend. “It really gives all the hard work purpose when you can see the value going back to the community groups who would otherwise struggle to make ends meet,” says Paul. “With statutory funding being cut, it’s even more important to look after the charities and groups that support our community.”

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But don’t be fooled into thinking there’s any downtime for Paul and his team when the 2016 event is over. “As soon as Pride is over, we have a thorough debrief of the event and after a short break in September we continue planning for 2017!”


Events and things to do in Sussex - August 2016 - Our guide to the best events in and around Sussex. Edited by Erica Gilbert

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