Wakefield Pride festival shelved over safety fears

Wakefield's Pride event has been cancelled due to the sheer volume of people expected to attend.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 3:55 pm
Updated Monday, 28th June 2021, 3:56 pm

Organisers were determined to keep the annual event on this year's calendar, but with similar events being shelved in other towns and cities, it was feared numbers would go beyond acceptable safety levels.

After lengthy discussions with Wakefield Council, West Yorkshire Police, The Safety and Advisory Group, organisers have taken the difficult decision.

A statement read: "With a heavy heart our trustees and members have made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s Pride Parade and Wood Street event.

The event attracts thousands of people to Wakefield.
The event attracts thousands of people to Wakefield.

"Our event would have been the first mass gathering in Wakefield since the initial lockdown in 2020.

"As intelligence suggests that because other local Pride events have been postponed, cancelled or delivered in different formats, there is real danger that our attendance capacity would be hugely exceeded.

"Despite our initial intent to live stream the stage event into bars and cafes in the city centre, we could potentially create a public order issue.

"It’s been a difficult decision, it’s not been easy for us."

People parading through the city at a previous event.

They said that health and safety remained a "top priority" and had been monitoring the government's 'road map' out of lockdown, which was recently delayed for four weeks.

Celebrating the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) community, the event was first started in the city 16 years ago, with celebrations held each year until the Covid outbreak of last year.

The idea began "on the back of a beer mat", according to organiser Jo King, but by 2019 was attracting thousands of people to the city.

While the main August 8 event will not take place this year, organisers say are planning smaller satellite events on the day which they will announce in due course.

Smaller events are being planned this year.

Pride has also secured two new major sponsors - Stonegate Inns and Coca Cola European Enterprises - who will be involved with the main celebrations next year.