Newport’s first-ever pride festival last weekend was a sea of rainbows and sparkles. Andrew Mudd and Adam Smith organized the event, which was held in Belle Vue Park before many people headed to the city center to party into the night. Other sponsors included Newport Bus, Dragon Taxis, Newport City Homes, and Newport City Council.
Children were dancing in droves while drag act Ruby Slippers and DJ Kim entertained at the bandstand, drinks were being served all day long at outdoor bars, and the tea rooms were packed. The Terrence Higgins Trust cofounder Martyn Butler OBE addressed to attendees as stalls were set up by Queer Emporium and other organizations to raise awareness of all-inclusive spaces and the charity’s unending work to advance HIV prevention in Wales.
Many people thanked the organizers in their thank-you notes and shared advice for individuals who were having trouble accepting their sexuality or gender. After 50 years of keeping it a secret, one person wrote about coming out on Saturday. Adam, a co-organizer, said the speech brought tears to his eyes and served as the ideal illustration of the necessity for pride.
Vice-chairman of Pride in the Port, Adam, told WalesOnline, “I am blown away.” “This weekend has been just incredible. It’s been nine months in the making, so I was anxious and unsure of what to anticipate.
“However, the audience seems to enjoy it, and the encouragement and feedback we have received has been fantastic. People sometimes wonder why we need pride; that message provides an answer. Pride is essential.
“I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, but I’ve never felt confident or at ease enough to. It was the appropriate time since I now have the right people around me to make this a success.
“Seeing families there and so many young people using the park in that way was just nice. We’ve certainly hit the nail on the head, as seen by the age gap.
By definition, Newport only has one gay-friendly establishment, Atlantica Bar on Market Street. Adam responded that he would rather concentrate on the willingness of current venues to contribute when asked if he thought the city’s inaugural pride could serve as a launchpad for more inclusive events in the city.
We can’t express our gratitude to Robbie White at Atlantica enough for all that he has done, but many other people have also contributed significantly, Adam said. “Other venues have paid attention, inquired about our needs, and shown a willingness to assist. According to Gwent Police, the city center was much busier on Saturday night than typical.
“Events were being held at the Pen and Wig, Crosskeys, Le Pub, Hogarths, and McCanns. On Saturday, Le Pub hosted punk pride, and McCanns had a biker pride celebration. I believe that shows LGBT+ people that Newport has a place where they can feel safe and at ease being themselves.