Words: Paul Chapman
Images: Chesterfield Pride
Chesterfield Pride returns to Stand Road Park on Sunday 24 July from midday. Now in its seventh year I caught up with Dan Walker, organiser, to find out what it’s all about.
"The event is for the LGBTQ+ community, it’s really inclusive, everyone is welcome, all comers and faiths, it’s a celebration of acceptance, equality and education of issues affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community with a real festival feel,” says Dan.
“There’s the main stage with big name acts and headlining this year is Nadine Coyle, there’s then a smaller cabaret stage which features unsigned artists, local performers and drag artists including Joe Black from Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Alongside the stages there’s a market area with 50 stalls including charities, not for profit organisations, info providers, and retailers, plus street food vendors, a bar area and fairground rides. It’s fantastic fun and all that for £5 a ticket."
News of the event is spreading, as Dan explained, "we’ve had people discussing the event in Blackpool and making plans to come over. The event is well respected and we’re pushing for more established artists each year."
As well as Nadine Coyle of Girls Aloud headlining, there's Nathan Moore, lead singer of Brother Beyond, Jo O’Meara, Kelly Wilde and local musician Alfie Darlin. Denise Pearson will be appearing after recently doing an event with an audience of 20,000, Kelly Llorenna has had seven top 20 hits, and these are just a few of the acts.
"Many people don’t recognise the acts, but many are former members of hit-making bands who now perform alone, we’d rather have quality artists than tribute acts. It’s also important we keep ticket prices low to make the event as accessible as we can, similar events with similar artists are considerably more to attend."
Dan, originally from Chesterfield, moved to Manchester to go to university and now works as a DJ in Manchester but started running LGBTQ+ club nights in Chesterfield in 2007. "I built a network of contacts for the club nights and through this got involved in establishing the first Sheffield Pride event where I ran the main stage, this got me thinking about a Pride event for Chesterfield.
"We now have the largest event of its type in the country, despite that, Joe Black had to Google Chesterfield to see where it was! He knows now, he was so impressed with his first visit and the organisation, he loves coming back," says Dan.
Dan's ethos is quality, staging well-known performers with years of experience. The event is simply about having a great time and ensuring people enjoy themselves, only problem is he feels he never gets to see it, he’s far too busy keeping things ticking over and has to watch social media feeds after the event!
"The feedback we get is great," enthuses Dan. "One chap commented on FB that he’d been dragged to the event by his girlfriend but ended up having a fabulous time. The event's all about breaking down walls, having a great time in a safe environment."
So, put a date in the diary for 24 July and get yourself along to Chesterfield Pride 2022.
Tickets are just £5, and you’re guaranteed a great day, alongside over 5,000 like-minded people… all we need to do now is order the sun!