Reading to celebrate fourth annual Pride Festival

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The fourth Reading Pride event is due to take place next weekend.

The event was set up to celebrate the LGBT community, to ensure a sense of belonging and build strong and positive relations between people of different backgrounds, whilst working towards equality and inclusion in Reading and its surrounding areas.

Elaine Burroughs, Chair of BeYou, Berkshire’s lesbian and gay information network, told

“Pride has always been a much anticipated part of the LGBT event calendar.

“Representing a safe environment in which communities can get together to celebrate their diversity without fear, it is great to see Reading Pride becoming such an established event.

“I would encourage anyone thinking about attending Reading Pride to come along – you really are guaranteed a fun day out”

BeYou volunteers will be showcasing the organisation’s helpline, drop-in and other support services.

Ms Burroughs added:

“Reading Pride 2007 represents a valuable opportunity for the local community to meet the team of trained volunteers who man BeYou’s services to ensure the ongoing success of the organisation.

“Primarily, the BeYou stand will be used to promote the organisation’s core services, including the helpline it runs every Tuesday from 7:30pm to 9:30pm and the drop-in service, held every last Thursday of the month at the Global Café in London Street, Reading from 7:30pm to 9pm.”

A host of other local LGBT community groups will also be attending the festival.

The Reading Pride festival began in 2004, attracting 6,000 people.

Last year organisers estimated a record 10,000 to 15,000 to have attended and the numbers are set rise even further this year.

It was the first Pride event ever to have a drag act on the main stage. Historically it was also the first Pride event held in a town and not a city.

This year’s highlights include entertainment from The Sheilas (from the Sheila’s Wheels advert).

Reading Pride’s chairperson (and now trustee) Lorna McArdle told BBC Berkshire: “Last year’s weather didn’t do us any favours and the bomb scare in the station behind the festival site added to our work load, but this year will be our landmark Pride – our first pride festival as a charity and our first pride parade.”

As well the tents below, there will be a Karaoke Tent, a Game Show Beer Tent plus a Youth Zone.

Live Stage:

Blue Beyond

Grey Matter


Yes Miss No Miss

Nicolette Street

Jess Gardham

Diane James

Karen Jones

Keith Anderson

Jamie Watson



Cabaret Stage:

The Sheilas

Amber Dextrous

Fanny Dazzle

Miss Kitty

Davina Sparkle


Drag With No Name

Miss Jason

Wilma Fingadoo

Miss Thunderpussy

Miss Bridey

Matt Sebastian

Dance Stage:

DJ Gary H

DJ Chris Reardon

Women’s Tent

Axe Girl



Lyndsy Dolbear

Grey Matter

Nina Mccann


Reading Pride will commence on Saturday 8th September from 12-8pm in King’s Meadow Park.

BeYou Lesbian and Gay Information Network is a Berkshire-based charitable provider of support services to the local community.

The BeYou helpline is a confidential phone service, run by highly experienced trained volunteers and offering information on a wide range of issues – from sexual health to ‘coming out’.

Running alongside BeYou is BeHere, a weekly drop-in session presenting clients with the opportunity for face-to-face interaction.