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Brighton and Hove Pride Festival 2018 kicked off officially on Saturday with the largest, brightest and most diverse Brighton Pride Community Parade ever. It was matched by a stellar performance of Britney Spears, LGBTQ+ ally and 2018 GLAAD Vanguard Award winner for promoting LGBT rights. Ms Spears, whose performance marked the start of her European Tour A Piece of Me! appeared on stage bearing a rainbow flag to huge acclamation.

Led by the Rainbow Fund and Cllr Dee Simpson, Mayor of Brighton & Hove, and with the theme ‘Colour My World’, the Community Parade was also the most well attended Brighton Pride Parade, with over 300,000 people participating and lining the route to help the LGBTQ+ communities and their allies celebrate love, diversity and inclusion in Brighton, one of the UK’s most welcoming cities.

Approximately 90,000 Pride-goers enjoyed the range of events across the day in the ticketed events in Preston Park, the Pride Village Party, and the Pleasure Gardens.

Brighton’s streets were thronged with cheering, diverse crowds from Brighton and Hove and further afield in what was a true testament of the ‘Colour My World’ theme. Transport networks were full to capacity throughout the morning as revellers made their way from routes including via Eastbourne, London and Southampton, although there was insufficient train capacity to return revellers at the end of the evening.

With temperatures reaching close to 30 degrees Celsius in the city, Brighton & Hove Pride and multi-agency statutory partners, urged participants to take care in the heat, including seeking shade, applying sunscreen staying hydrated and wearing a hat. Free drinking water sites were located throughout the Park and other sites and people were advised to bring a refillable bottle to stay hydrated.

The evening Festival, headlined by Britney Spears also included a performer line-up of Ella Eyre, Pixie Lott, MNEK, Mabel, and Louise. The much anticipated performances were widely appreciated ensuring that fans were not disappointed.

Brighton Pride preceded Britney Spears’ headline act with an impactful Global Hate crimes Campaign Video on human rights abuses perpetrated on LGBTQ+ and other communities around the world.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s City Clean services began the street clean up as soon as the Parade had passed. In addition, Brighton & Hove Pride paid City Clean and private sanitation contractors to clear and clean its ticketed event and sites. Cleaning operations within the city are continuing, ready to welcome people to Sunday’s LOVEBN1FEST event.

Sussex Police reported that there were only 30 arrests throughout the city.

South East Ambulance Service reported that the numbers of people who were taken to A&E or sought medical attention on the Park was proportionate to the elevated numbers in Brighton for the day. Police reported that the majority of instances were due to the heat and lack of hydration, with some drugs and alcohol related instances.

photos © Chris Jepson