Worcester’s first Pride cancelled

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Worcester’s first Pride festival has been cancelled due to financial problems and a lack of support from local bodies and businesses.

The event was to be held on September 18th at Worcester Racecourse but organisers released a statement today saying that it would not go ahead.

Instead, they will hold several small events next month with a view to holding a festival in summer 2011.

A statement from Worcester Pride today said that “statutory organisations” had given “less support than anticipated” and that there was a “growing unwillingness to engage with the community”.

However, speaking on the phone this afternoon, Worcester Pride event manager Lee Winters would not clarify which bodies the statement referred to and said it meant both statutory bodies and private companies.

He told PinkNews.co.uk: “Worcester is a cathedral city. In a lot of respects, this is a groundbreaking and new thing. We’ve had a few people complain.

“I can’t name them. I have to be professional. This is about building bridges.”

The statement said: “Due to the recession and a change of government, it has become more apparent that a large-scale event, as was planned for 2010 is not as viable as first hoped.”

It continued that many statutory bodies which had pledged financial support have withdrawn their offers due to cutbacks and job losses.

Hereford & Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service initially pledged £1,500 of funding and the offer of marshals on the day but has cancelled its support.

Mr Winters added that a recent event at Worcester Racecourse had garnered a number of complaints over accessibility and health and safety. He also blamed a change in government for the cancellation.

He said: “We spent over 12 months planning. From an organiser’s point of view, we had ticked every box. Everything as we were concerned was going well.

“We’re not going to let it fail. We’re continuing planning.”

Mr Winters added that the event needed to “scale down” and that Worcester Pride was in talks with a new venue in a “perfect location” for next year.

The revised event will be held between September 17th and 19th at AiR Cafe and the Brewery Tap. It will include stalls plus family-friendly acts in the daytime and adult-themed performances in the evenings.