When the team first suggested the ‘Heroes’ theme, it instantly triggered a positive reaction.
We couldn’t shut up for the sheer joy of explaining who we admired and why. Heroes inspire you to follow your dreams, embody your beliefs and give you extra fire in your belly when you need that inner strength. We all agreed this summed up perfectly the positivity and passion we want this festival to be about.
We’ve emblazoned our LGBTQ Heroes everywhere this year and been touched by hearing about everyone else’s choices – either personal or public-facing figures who have made a difference by inspiring people to make a difference.
‘Salon’ is the perfect word to describe our ‘Lesbian Writers Read’ event –a reminder of an earlier era when like-minded people would gather in drawing rooms to discuss books, art, politics or simply to enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed atmosphere.
Our local haberdashery, Ribbon Circus in Hebden Bridge provided a delightfully intimate setting, surrounded by displays of coloured wools and ribbons displayed around the walls and filled with whatever the collective noun is for a group of lesbians (All places were soon snapped up and so the venue was fully booked).
Four published authors from across the UK, joined local author and organiser, Jen Silver and despite, Robyn Nyx and Brey Williams being led astray by their sat-nav, ending up behind a herd of cows – all managed to arrive in time.
It was Lise Gold’s first public appearance and if she was nervous reading from her second, recently released romance, Beyond the Skyline – it didn’t show.
Cari Hunter was planning on editing out the swearing in her selected excerpt from the third in her Dark Peak series, A Quiet Death – but after Helen’s robust introduction to the evening, she muttered, “I’m leaving the ‘f*cks’ in.”
Brey Willows read from, Fury’s Bridge, the first in a series and left us wanting more by ending on a cliffhanger.
Robyn Nyx’s reading from the first book in her Extractor Series, Escape in Time, took on an even darker hue, leading us into the past in Nazi Germany during World War II.
Jen Silver read from her most recently published book, Running From Love. Beforehand, Jen’s wife asked her which bit she’d selected and when told said, “Oh yes, the fridge and the cat!” Not quite how I would summarise that part, but if you want to make your own mind up here’s a link to the podcast
A massive thank you to everyone who came, including the authors who did a fantastic job, both reading and answering questions afterwards.
Special thanks to Ribbon Circus owner, Happy Valley Pride Trustee and host, Helen Baron who ensured glasses were topped up and the donation bucket was jingling.
In only its second year, Happy Valley Pride have organised an ambitious, week-long festival of diversity, inclusivity and awareness for everyone – celebrating LGBTQ+ life in Hebden Bridge and surrounding areas.
Unified with an LGBTQ+ Heroes theme, the festival aims to provide a spectrum of exciting, inclusive events, bringing together nationally renowned and local artistes. Confirmed so far, but with more to come:
Established, gay comedian, Zoe Lyons, brings her full length stand-up show on Wednesday 9th to The Trades Club. Zoe will be familiar to many from her regular appearances on TV and radio shows, such as Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo.
An evening performance at Little Theatre on Friday, 11th August from award-winning, musical satirists, Bourgeois & Maurice – recently described by The Guardian as “Modern Day Music Hall stars”. The demented duo promise to deliver riotously funny, original songs, with style as sharp as their wit.
A cram-packed weekend, centred within a family-friendly, ‘Holme Street Hub’, will provide a host of local musicians and street entertainment during Saturday daytime. Riverside Junior School will also have an exhibition of pupils’ winning ‘Heroes’ artwork, alongside information stalls. Talks from a thought-provoking mix of LGBTQ+ speakers, including Jeremy Pemberton and Flo Krause; complementing the return (for a second year) of human rights activist, Peter Tatchell. Whilst Saturday night, Trades Club hosts Honeyfeet and The Bright Black, both Manchester bands with a reputation for their exuberant live performances.
Winding down the week, Sunday offers something for everyone – a church service at St James’ Church, Hebden Bridge; ‘Up the Buttress’ walk led by Peter Tatchell. All culminating in a Pink Picnic, incorporating a chance to enter your pet in the Pooch Parade being held in Calder Holmes Park.
Mike Stephens, Chair said “The incredible community and business support we’ve received in the past 12 months has enabled us to grow the festival and embrace our LGBTQ+ community. As a small and entirely volunteer-organised festival, support from Hebden Royd Town Council and local businesses, including Yorkshire Soap, has helped make this year’s festival possible. We’re extremely excited and thrilled with this year’s expanded programme and look forward to hosting our wonderful guests and performers”.
As a part of the 2nd year of Happy Valley Pride, we are delighted to invite artists to participate in an Art Exhibition, with work being exhibited and sold at Nelson’s Wine Bar, Hebden Bridge during August 2017.
Happy Valley Pride’s very own artist, David Anthony Kennedy, has recruited the help and talents of fellow local artists, Francis Charlton and David Jarrett, to begin the process of turning a vulgar piece of homophobic graffiti into an inspiring piece of art.
When we first discussed having a launch fundraiser, and once we had decided on a basic format, somebody said, “I wonder if we could ask Sally Wainwright to come down and cut the ribbon?” “Well that would be perfect,” somebody else commented. “As if!” we all said unanimously, after a brief pause, moving onto the price of balloons and vol-au-vents.
The story begins back in the summer of 2015, before we, the four founders of Happy Valley Pride, had met each other, before the first meeting had been arranged, before evening after evening had been spent strategising, organising, creating; before anybody had uttered the words: Happy Valley Pride.