The UK’s top LGBT festivals and events in 2016
Throughout the UK, there are so many ways to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) culture in 2016. Check out some of our favourite events!
31 December–1 January, Scotland
Hogmanay is a big Scottish celebration for the New Year. In Edinburgh it’s a wild party with fireworks, concerts and a spectacular torchlight procession. Scotland’s first same-sex weddings were held at 00:01 on Hogmanay in 2014, giving LGBT Scots an extra reason to celebrate the date.
This annual event promotes equality and celebrates LGBT culture. There are exhibitions, film screenings, comedy, plays and events across the country supported by organisations including Amnesty International and the National Archives, while museums including the V&A and Tate Modern host special lectures and guided tours.
National Student Pride
5-7 February, London, England
Find out more here or visit www.studentpride.co.uk
Welcoming LGBT students from over 100 universities and colleges in the UK and beyond, National Student Pride features inspirational guest speakers, panel discussions, film screenings, a careers fair, and of course a big party.
Students celebrating at one of many events during National Student Pride week (Photo ©National Student Pride)
16-27 March, London, England
The British Film Institute’s annual London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival is 30 years old in 2016, so we're promised a fantastic line-up of classic and contemporary films. Most screenings are at the BFI’s home in the Southbank, with opening and closing galas in London’s cinematic West End. But if you are not in the UK... don't worry! BFI Flare holds online screenings every year, and you can get involved on social media too.
SHOUT Film Festival
Date tbc, Birmingham, England
Championing LGBT arts and culture since 2009, SHOUT produce events throughout the year to showcase gay and lesbian film, visual art, music, theatre, literature and culture. Annual events include April’s SHOUT Film Festival, and look out for other events via their website.
28-29 May, Birmingham, England
The UK’s largest two-day LGBT festival, Birmingham Pride is typically held over the Spring bank holiday weekend in May. The streets of Birmingham’s gay district pulsate with a carnival parade, live music, dance arena with big-name DJs, cabaret stage, women’s arena and a community village.
Date tbc, Edinburgh, Scotland
Scotland’s national LGBT pride festival, Pride Scotia starts with a march and rally, and afterwards is a festival encompassing live music from Scottish and international acts.
UK Black Pride
Date tbc, London, England
Europe’s biggest community-led, not-for-profit group for LGBT people of African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Asian and Latin American descent, UK Black Pride features carnival-themed entertainment, arts and a big picnic.
Pride in London
Festival, 18-26 June (main weekend 25-26 June), London, England
The biggest day in London’s LGBT calendar is the annual Pride in London parade and street party. Bringing together hundreds of community groups, student unions, charities and campaigners, the parade route passes many London landmarks including Downing Street, the home of Britain’s Prime Minister.
The parade through central London in 2012, celebrating World Pride (Photo ©VisitBritain/ Nicolas Chinardet)
1-10 July (Pride Day 9 July), Bristol, England
A week-long festival, Bristol Pride is attended by more than 30,000 people each year. Pride Week events include a film festival and a comedy night, but the main event is the big parade and party on 9 July.
15-18 July, Uttoxeter, England
Britain’s award-winning L Fest brings lesbian music, arts, comedy and cabaret to Staffordshire. In addition to entertainment on several stages, there are workshops, family activities, sports and games, a cinema, and club nights.
15–17 July, Newcastle, England
Northern Pride is a three-day event in Newcastle. Over 7,000 people join the parade, plus there's a host of events in Exhibition Park throughout the weekend, where there will be a main stage, community market stalls, a youth zone, cabaret tent and dance tent.
27 July–7 August (Parade on Saturday, 6 August), Belfast, Northern Ireland
Ireland’s largest LGBT festival, Belfast Pride attracts over 50,000 people for a week of rainbow-coloured celebrations. The highlight is Saturday’s Pride Parade, extending from the gay neighbourhood around Union Street and Donegall Street, all the way to City Hall, then back again for a massive street party.
Belfast Pride in 2010, which attracted the biggest turnout yet (Photo ©Brian Morrison @nitb.com)
Pride Brighton & Hove
5-7 August, Brighton and Hove, England
The UK’s biggest Pride festival, every year Brighton Pride attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. The main day sees a huge parade through the city, followed by a massive party with a main stage, dance and cabaret tents, a community village and a fun festival atmosphere.
Date TBC, Liverpool, England
From its beginnings in 2010, Liverpool Pride has followed a specific theme voted for by the people of Liverpool. Previous themes have included Rainbow Circus, Superheroes and Glam Fairytales, which explains why this event is one of Britain’s most visually flamboyant. The pride party features over 50 live acts across three stages.
Date TBC, Leeds, England
Yorkshire’s gay community celebrates at Leeds Pride. There’s a pride parade and two outdoor performance stages in the bustling city centre. With eight hours of entertainment, it’s sure to be a grand day out.
13 August, Cardiff, Wales
Pride Cymru ('Cymru' means 'Wales') features big-name Welsh and international pop acts performing live on the main stage, a cabaret garden, funfair rides and a family zone. There’s also a colourful parade through Cardiff city centre.
20–21 August, Glasgow, Scotland
Scotland’s largest LGBT pride festival, Pride Glasgow is a two-day event held annually in August with plenty of entertainment on offer.
28–31 August, Manchester, England
In August, Manchester’s gay village plays host to one of the biggest dates in the gay calendar: Manchester Pride. The month-long Pride Fringe celebrates the diversity of LGBT life, including art, culture and sport. This leads to the Big Weekend, including a huge Pride Parade across the city.
Party lights at a National Student Pride event last year (Photo ©Ophelia Taylor)
3 September, Reading, England
A free community event, Reading Pride kicks off with a parade through the city to King's Meadow, where you’ll find a full line-up of entertainment. There’s also a funfair, youth area and food, drink and market stalls.
Iris Prize Festival
12-16 October, Cardiff, Wales
During four days of international film screenings, panel sessions and parties, 30 short films by or about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people compete to win the top accolade, valued at £30,000.
Rainbow Film Festival
Dates TBC, Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Market Drayton, England
Held at venues across these pretty towns in Shropshire, the Rainbow Film Festival offers a host of premieres and special screenings of LGBT feature films and shorts.
Throughout November, Liverpool, England
Supported by Britain’s Arts Council, the Homotopia Festival is an exciting mix of theatre, contemporary dance, exhibitions, debate, and cabaret.
Date TBC, Glasgow, Scotland
The largest multi-art festival of its kind in the UK, this LGBT festival spans comedy, music, film, theatre, visual art, literature, clubbing and community arts projects.
Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest
Date TBC, London, England
Taking place at venues throughout east London, this alternative, not-for-profit festival includes gay and lesbian feature films, experimental art, interactive walks and wild parties.
Date TBC, London, England
A new date on London’s LGBT calendar, Winter Pride celebrates diversity through creativity. As well as parties hosted by gay clubs such as East Bloc, this not-for-profit social enterprise includes an art competition and a humanitarian award.