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Review of the 'Big Gay Out' Festival

 article about Pride festival gay
Finsbury Park, London, Saturday July 3rd 2004

'Big Gay Out' was the Official London Pride event for this year,
organised by Faceparty. After the usual parade through the city centre,
the gates to the Finsbury Park festival opened at one o'clock.

On the main stage, there was a mix of camp retro singers including CeCe
Peniston and Urban Cookie Collective, and toward the end of the night
bigger stars including Emma Bunton, Jamelia, Marc Almond, Fun Lovin'
Criminals and the Sugababes. Peter Andre and the Cheeky Girls also made

If you got bored of the main stage there were
plenty of other things to do. There were loads of big dance tents with
well-known DJs including Boy George getting the party going. There was
also a funfair which had some deadly waltzers (I had whiplash for a
week). A marketplace curled round the edges of the festival in which
you could buy the usual rainbow flags along with some 'herbal highs'
and witty t-shirts. One of the big hits, though, was the cabaret tent
which had a loads of drag artistes, singers and comedians, including
the 'Men in Coats,' a hilarious act which especially appealed to those
with a silly or blokey sense of humour! Also appearing here was a very,
VERY, convincing impersonator of Boy George called the Boy George

The Main Stage (Fun Lovin' Criminals)

Of course, if you got bored of all this, you could always sit down in
one of the teepee tentsor on one of the beanbags and watch the
brilliantly costumed festival goers pass by!

A blessing tent
could be used by those who wanted a special ceremony (like a wedding)
to tie them to their partner, performed by the Metropolitan Community
Church. There were plenty of food and drink stalls and lots of veggie
food was on offer.

This was just one indication of how
inclusive and welcoming the festival was - in the cabaret tent there
were communicators for deaf people, and the main stage had a viewing
area for disabled people to come and go as they pleased. Overall, the
atmosphere was warm and completely friendly.

And one more
bonus: the rain stayed away! Seeing as we've been having really freaky
weather here in the UK (The Day After Tomorrow anyone?) this was a much
welcomed surprise!

There was one hitch, which unfortunately
came at the end of the night. The much anticipated 'Frankie Goes to
Hollywood Firework Spectacular' kicked off late, which can only explain
why it seemed to have been cut short, leaving a confused (but amused)
crowd wondering why a load of costumed dancers were swaying on the
stage to complete silence! They even cut the poor presenter's mic in
the end. We can only assume that because the main stage had been
running late, licensing laws prohibited loud music and fireworks after
half ten!

However, this was one of the best one day festivals
I have ever been to. There was so much to do and the time went really
quickly. Faceparty have already decided to bring the event back next
year, and with word getting around about how good it was, hopefully
next year will attract bigger stars and loads more festival-goers. And
hopefully, they'll get the fireworks right.

All profits from Big Gay Out are being donated to charity: the slogan 'Pride Not Profit.'

See the official website for some great pictures.

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