Thousands of people were expected to fill the streets of Brighton on Saturday to celebrate the return of one of the UK’s biggest Pride events.
The parade and concerts, headlined by Christina Aguilera to a sold-out audience on Saturday and Paloma Faith on Sunday, mark the return of the LGBTQ+ celebration for the first time in three years after the last two were cancelled due to Covid.
The event, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, was expected to attract as many as 300,000 people on Saturday.
The parade started at Hove Laws at 11am, winding through the city’s streets with rainbow flags. There were also people wearing yellow and blue flags calling for peace in Ukraine.
Among them was the gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, who tweeted: “At @PrideBrighton in solidarity with #Ukraine against Russian aggression.”
He also spoke out against the Commonwealth, which he said is a “bastion of homophobia”, calling for “an end to the criminalisation of LGBTs in 35 Commonwealth countries”.
Aguilera, who also performed at Los Angeles Pride in June, is among dozens of acts who will take to the stage at Preston Park over the weekend for We are Fabuloso.
Other performers include Ella Henderson, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Björn Again and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK stars Tia Kofi and Bimini.
A spokesperson for Brighton Pride said: “2022 will be a joyous commemoration of the brave trailblazers, campaigners and supporters who shaped the Pride movement in the city and helped us achieve the LGBT+ equality we all enjoy today.”
Brighton’s first Pride was held in 1973 but it did not return until 1991. It usually draws crowds of about 250,000. This weekend also marks the 50th anniversary of the city’s first march, organised by the Sussex Gay Liberation Front.
Paul Kemp, organiser of Pride, told the BBC: “It has been a very long wait but we’re finally here. We’re very excited to be back.”
Previous headliners at the event, which includes a community parade and village party, have included Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue and, due to Covid, two cancelled appearances by Mariah Carey.
Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove and Portslade and shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland, tweeted: “The #BrightonPride parade was amazing!”