Event Review: Blackpool Pride 2023
Event: Blackpool Pride
Date: 10th June 2023
Location: Winter Gardens, Blackpool
Blackpool has a lively and energetic atmosphere that draws visitors from all walks of life. A vibrant coastal town and popular tourist destination located on the northwest coast of England it is known for its iconic attractions, lively entertainment, and distinctive character, offering a unique blend of traditional seaside charm and modern entertainment.
And then we have Blackpool Pride 2023!
The organisation, mood, crowd management, accessibility, performances, food, and other stalls that helped to make the day unique will all be covered in
this blog as I walk you through my experience at the event.
Organisation and Atmosphere:
Prior to the event, the organisation was pretty good. The communication was clear and concise, even down to being provided with an image of the loading bay for setup purposes.
Unfortunately, on arrival, we found the designated unloading area empty, with broken shutters and no organiser to be seen. The instructions given prior were not followed, with no tables, chairs, or allocated pitch marked out. Once I had tracked down an organiser they knew even less than me!
The atmosphere was subdued for both the stallholders and the visitors.
Crowd Control and Accessibility:
Blackpool Pride 2023 was not as well attended as we had anticipated, so unfortunately, there was a lack of crowds of any sort, at any time of the day. The event was held inside, and although it had the benefit of being cooler inside than out, as this was held on one of the UK’s hottest days of the year so far, the general consensus was that it should have been at an outdoor space to attract more visitors. Even Coronation Street's Antony Cotton, who was comparing for part of the day, made a point of rousing the crowd's support for an outdoor event rather than an indoor one!
Accessibility left a lot to be desired. The event was held over two floors but the inside lift was out of service. Wheelchair users had to leave the building and make their way around the exterior of the building to move between the two floors. I saw a number of people on crutches navigating the stairs. I’ll be honest and say I'm pretty sure that this was not health and safety compliant!
Performances and Food:
Anthony Collesso was a highlight act for me, his Prince tribute act was nothing short of fantastic. Capturing the essence of Prince's music, Collesso delivered an awe-inspiring performance, with stunning vocals, and left an indelible mark on the hearts of everyone in attendance.
A big shout out to Sophie and Jen who got engaged whilst LMX, a Little Mix Tribute
act, were on stage, giving the crowd even more to cheer at.
There wasn't much food on offer at Blackpool Pride 2023 with just a small cafe offering hot drinks and burgers inside however being in the centre of Blackpool meant that there were plenty of local food choices outside of the event for all budgets and palettes.
Stalls and Highlights:
There were not many stalls at this event, with the community stalls mainly being hosted upstairs, and the sellers downstairs. As with most Pride events there was a glitter make-up stall and a couple of merch stalls as well as a gin bar.
As a reward for reaching this far in the review, use code FREEBADGE at the checkout to receive a free badge of your choice, with every order placed before 30th June 2023.
Overall Experience and Conclusion:
As this was a paid entrance event, it was expected that it would have great organisation and plenty of visitors. However, it was lacking in all areas.
My recommendation would be to move the event outdoors where there are lots of people, such as the seafront, and have it as a free or low entry cost to bring in more people to celebrate, with enough stalls, entertainment, and hospitality to ensure people are provided for and want to stay and participate.
Unfortunately, Blackpool Pride 2023 did not live up to its slogan of "Bright, Bold &
Beautiful" and my rating has to be 1 out of 5 stars. Here’s hoping lessons are learned for the next one.