“Shall not promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.Local Government Act, 1988 – Prohibition on promoting homosexuality by teaching or by publishing material.
Put yourself in the place of a 13 year old in the Lake District in 1988. The world was in the midst of the AIDS crisis and homophobic articles were common in the national press.
I was the 13 year old that Mrs Thatcher was trying to “protect”. Sadly for her it had the opposite effect.
Gay rights didn’t make it to the Lakes, so TV was the only connection to the outside world. Bringing this revolting clause presented a call to arms, organisations like Stonewall appeared and words Gay and Pride were bandied around. I’d always known I was different but now I wasn’t alone.
It couldn’t have been a better signpost for me, if Margaret T thought homosexuality was wrong, it must be right.
That isn’t to say I had an easy time of it. The 80s were dark and by bringing homophobia to the masses, we all copped it one way or another.
Section 28 was only repealed 15 years ago. We need to remember that our previous Prime Minister was incredibly vocal in keeping it until he did a U-turn in 2009. Our current “leader” has consistently voted against LGBT rights.
Happy Valley Pride is an eclectic, alternative and inclusive, week-long festival for everyone. Celebrating LGBT+ life in Hebden Bridge and surrounding areas. This year, it will be taking place earlier than in previous years, during the week of 22 to 28 July 2019.
Founded in 2015, the festival has rapidly grown in size and stature – last year we attracted over 3,000 attendees across 15 events and 7 days. Set in the stunning location of the Calder Valley (recently recognised in National Geographic’s Cool List 2019) we’ve built an enviable reputation for creating a distinctive, LGBT+ arts-focused programme.
The decision to move the festival was taken to guarantee the calibre of artists and performers now expected of Happy Valley Pride, as the previous dates were close to other key festivals, notably Edinburgh Festival.
Our Chair and Festival Programmer, Tim Whitehead:
“In the last couple of years, we have managed to attract an incredibly diverse and reputable range of artists. Camille O’Sullivan (recently voted in the Top 25 Jools Holland’s performances) headlined last year, due to an unusual change in schedule. In 2016, BBC Radio 4 regular, Zoe Lyons was another coup and a total sell out. We were aware of other artists we’d loved to welcome to Happy Valley Pride, yet missed out simply because they were booked for Edinburgh. We’re now planning a superb week, which we’re excited will offer something special for everyone and offer our best Pride yet.
At the heart of this, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to to the local community and businesses who have supported us in funding the festival, such as local artist, Kate Lycett, whose unique artwork donation attracted national interest via our art auction.”
Which brings us on to the first confirmed event for 2019 – the auspicious return of legendary London-club night, Duckie. Having lured them to Yorkshire from their Vauxhall Tavern residency – last year’s inaugural visit to The Trades Club sold out in 48hrs post-announcement. Its cult cabaret line up of renowned performance artists is bound to guarantee Happy Valley Pride will stand above the Pride crowd.
With a growing Committee of volunteer trustees and loyal festival team, we’ve quickly built a strong reputation and year-round profile via social nights, community involvement and regular Trades’ Club fundraiser nights. Working alongside local schools and other community groups, we seek to raise understanding and acceptance of the LGBT+ community via art projects.
With plenty still to do, those interested in getting involved please visit the ‘Get Involved‘ page for more info.
We’ve come such a long way, but equality is still somewhere over the rainbow.Tim Whitehead
Our programme cover was well timed. Conceived before today’s headline news – reminding the world that holding hands in public is still not accepted for gay people. This year’s theme – Revolution – is all about how attitudes towards the LGBT+ community have undergone a revolution of their own in the past five decades, but there is still work to be done.
Our newly appointed patron, Peter Tatchell, was recently detained at the Kremlin, for protesting persecution against gay people in Russia and only last year Stonewall announced that hate crime against the LGBT+ community has risen 80% in the UK since 2013.
Very recently I was sat outside a pub in Hebden Bridge with friends and some passers-by made casual homophobic comments. We’ve come such a long way, but equality is still somewhere over the rainbow.
So, holding hands – the cover of this year’s programme brochure – represents something that is still a revolutionary act for many LGBT+ people — simply holding hands in public.
I’d like to ask as many of you as possible, however you identify, to hold hands during Pride, whether it’s with your best friend, your partner, your child or your parent.
Let’s hold hands and spread a revolution of love throughout Hebden Bridge and the surrounding areas.
Full programme and tickets will be available weekend of 7/8 July
Now in its third year, the festival will be united by a Revolution theme with performances, art and outdoor entertainment.
A strong theme, with their best headliners yet, who have eagerly signed up to participate in the revolution, recognising the unique flavour of Happy Valley Pride’s tone in a town that does things differently. The festival will provide world-class entertainment throughout the week bringing class acts and clubbing together. Headliners already booked to appear are:
Duckie – Legendary London Club Night @ The Trades Club, Saturday 11th August
Whilst most club nights last a few years, Duckie has happened every week for 23 years. For the first time EVER, the original Vauxhall veterans bring their rock’n’roll performance disco-bar to Yorkshire on Saturday 11 August to The Trades Club. Legendary DJ’s, The London Reader’s Wifes will be joined on stage by Happy Valley Pride favourites’ Bourgeois & Maurice, drag artist Victoria Sin and comedian Barbara Brownskirt.
Camille O’Sullivan @ Hope Baptist Church, Friday 10th August
Irish/French Camille O’Sullivan is now an internationally-renowned singer with a formidable reputation for her interpretations of the songs of Cave, Brel, Waits, Bowie, Cohen, Radiohead and more. She has stunned audiences around the world, including a ten-night, award-winning run of shows at Sydney Opera House; London’s Royal Festival Hall; The Roundhouse. The Telegraph recently named Camille one of the top 25 performances of all time on the BBC’s Later with Jools Holland BBC.
Ursula Martinez – Comedy and Performance Artist @ Hebden Bridge Little Theatre, Thursday 9th August
An established international artist, regularly supported by the British Council, Ursula Martinez produces live performance, both solo and collaborative, for theatre, cabaret, site-specific, installation and nightclub. She will present her critically acclaimed show Free Admission which celebrates the inconsistencies and contradictions that make us human, whilst having a dig at some of the mess that is of our own making.
Newly-appointed Chair, Tim Whitehead said “We believe Revolution gives a soul-stirring theme, which will fire up our festival visually, artistically and create comradery amongst our festival performers and supporters.”
Tickets and full programme details to be announced in June 2018
** UPDATE** Due to a great response – we will be bringing the closing date for applications forward to Friday 27th April. Please get in touch ASAP, if you are considering applying.
Happy Valley Pride is Calderdale’s annual LGBT+ festival, promoting inclusivity and diversity for and amongst, the LGBT+ community.
We are now recruiting for two Trustees to sit on the board and take part in planning and running the festival.
Applications from all would be happily received, though we would particularly welcome applications from those who identify as trans or lesbian and from members of the BAME community, to ensure our board is as widely representative as possible.
Skills that we are particularly seeking include:
As with all trustee roles within the organisation, this is a voluntary position. The commitment is generally two evening meetings, per month though this increases around the festival itself (6th to 12th August 2018).
To apply, please email mailto:[email protected] outlining your suitability, along with a CV (if possible).
Further information is also available upon request – we look forward to hearing from you. Deadline for applications is 30th April 2018.
Photo Credit: Joan Heath
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:
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”.