what to do this weekend – pride special

It’s almost here, one of the best weekends in the year, yes, it’s Brighton Pride! Are you ready for a sparkly weekend of love and Britney-filled celebration? We sure as hell are. There are so many rainbowtastic events and parties on this weekend, it can be hard to know where to start, so we’ve waded through the (biodegradable) glitter on your behalf to narrow things down to our top picks. And if you’re not a fan of big crowds, don’t worry, we’ve got some quieter options just for you, too.

Pride started early for us and we’ve been spreading the love all week with everything from rainbow dinners to Pride paths and queer art. We know music is the food of love (thanks, Shakespeare) and Pride is all about love, so we’d recommend getting in the mood with Horse Meat Disco’s party-starting playlist and 201 Dance Company’s fabulous double homage to Britney and Brighton. Then get your sparkles on and check out the fabulous Queen Josephine’s rainbowtastic Pride forecast, a lovingly camp tribute to our city where love lives.

What to do the night before Pride (Friday 3rd August)
Did we mention that Britney’s headlining this year’s Pride? Oh, you’d heard? No, big deal, right? Anyway, you can hone your moves in a dance masterclass with actual Britney Spears dancer Zac Brazenas (5-6.30pm; £15) at Marina Studios. Call the Studios to book (01273 253679). Move over, Brit, we’re coming for ya. Now you’ve got your moves down, you could head over to the i360 for a Britney-themed evening of silent disco fun (7.30-10.30pm; £15 or £30 VIP with flight and booze). Two DJs will be battling for your attention on the boarding deck – you can choose between Britney classics or disco pumping through your headphones. And if you want to start your silent disco-ing even earlier, The Marlborough is hosting a drag silent disco (1.00pm  – 5.00pm; £5) to get you into the Pride spirit.

If you feel like getting creative, there’s a silk floral crown workshop at Between Two Thorns (6.00pm – 8.00pm; £35) if your head is in need of Pride adornment or if you’re going along to the brilliant Queer Prom we raved about this week and you’re still crownless. If you’re not going to Queer Prom, then the Pav Tav’s Pride weekender on Friday (and Saturday) is well worth a look. Alfie Ordinary (you might remember our Fringe interview with the UK’s only drag prince) is hosting and DJing the party from 9.00pm (free). Or check out London’s premier drag king troupe Pecs at Old Steine’s Pleasure Gardens (from £5).

Or… dance to a different, Latin, beat…
with some salsa, bachata and kizomba at Sussex’s biggest monthly latin party at Hove’s The Venue (classes from 9.00pm, club from 11.00pm; from £7).

Where to get your glitter on
Feeling a tad bare of face? There are loads of places in the city where you can get your sparkle on if you’d rather leave it in someone else’s hands or you just haven’t had time to stock up. If you’re in Hove, head to Velvet on Church Road from 9.30am for your glittery makeover for a £3 donation. Or if you’re in Brighton centre, the lovely Headblush are setting up a Glitta Bar on Jubilee Square on Saturday (10.00am – 10.00pm; from £5) and outside the Mucky Duck on Manchester Street on Saturday and Sunday (3.00pm – 10.00pm) with 10% of profits going to Allsorts LGBTQ Youth charity. Paperchase (66, East Street) are also getting in on the act; you  you can get glittered up for free with face and body glitter on Saturday between 10.00am and 1.00pm. Or get glittered up at Aveda (8 Dukes Lane)  for £2 with all proceeds going to Water Aid.

Where to get your party started on Saturday 4th August
We already told you about some of the brilliant Pride brunches going on this weekend; not only are they a brilliant way to get into the Pride spirit, but they also offer prime Parade-watching action.We’re also loving the ‘pay-as-you-feel’ community breakfast at the colourful Pop-up Brighton (from 8.00am),  which is also on the parade route. The gang will be serving up delicious pancakes, Bloody Marys and Mimosas as you soak up the atmosphere and the stunning views of the West Pier. With a free Pride party later on, it’s a lovely place to spend the day.

And if it’s food you’re after, vegan fast-food faves The Loving Hut are reopening their doors of their hut on The Level for the Pride celebrations. Find them close to the Pride parade, on the south corner of The Level from Friday to Sunday (11.00am – 6.30pm).

Or… take a boat trip to Rampion wind farm…
for a thrilling ride with commentary to see the turbines up close (£40pp; call Paul on 07711 325986 for Saturday and Sunday bookings).

Where to watch the parade
If you’re not watching it over breakfast or brunch, then The Joker‘s front terrace is a great place to see the Parade on the last run into Preston Park. The Preston Road pub is hosting a Choose Love party from 10.30am with DJs, champagne ice pop giveaways, a glitter cannon, the works.

Or… head to Rottingdean Fair
for a quintessentially English day out (10.30am – 4.00pm; 50p) on the Village Green and Kipling Gardens.

Where to head after the parade
Obviously you may be spending the day with Britney at Preston Park (you lucky thing), but if you didn’t manage to get a ticket, there are plenty of other places to celebrate in style. The Mesmerist on Prince Albert Street are welcoming Wonderland Brighton to their rooftop terrace for post-parade daytime shenanigans (midday – midnight; free). In their words, it’s going to be a “glittery, sassy stonker of a party”. Bring. It. On. Meanwhile, Bitch Craft are at The Hope and Ruin on Queens Road welcoming one and all for a day of fun (midday – 8.00pm; free) with the gals spinning everything from 60s to 80s tunes to grunge, disco, and riot grrrl. Oh, and there’sfree glitter.

And one of our favourite coffee and bar stops, The Marwood on Ship Street is holding a Pride Garden Party with a day of underground music (from midday; free until mid-afternoon, then £3-5). It’s a teensy space, though, so get there early to make sure you get in. And, if you fancy staying with them for the duration, news of their top-secret after-party (it’s an open-air location, apparently) will be released on the day at the above link. We can’t wait!

Where to dance into the night
Online sales for the Village Party on St James Street have finished, but you may still be able to get a wristband from the Pride box office on Victoria Gardens. This gets you access to the area and all the venues there, although some charge separate entry. The brilliant Brighton Rocks is free entry (with wristband), so we’d recommend heading over as their larger-than-life Disco Festival is sure to blow your glitter socks off.

Wristband or not, there is still a bright bounty of options. We’re particularly loving The Marlborough’s Queer Takeover; they’ve teamed up with Calabash and Traumfrau for the weekend and Saturday promises voguing, drag king performances and the Pxssy Palace DJ collective keeping you entertained from 8.00pm until 2.00am (from £10, their wristband gives you access to all their weekend entertainment and you can buy a £5 Village Party wristband if still available).

Or… watch some wrestling…
with the Riptide Wrestling Brighton Championship Tournament at the Brighthelm Centre (6.00pm – 11pm; £20; Friday tickets also available).

Where to have a more chilled Pride party
If that’s all sounding a bit too hectic, then check out DIY Pride at Queens Park (2.00pm – 8.00pm; free). Set up to counteract the commercialisation of mainstream Pride events, it offers a family-friendly, safe space to celebrate our diversity over a cosy picnic (bring your own food, booze and blankets). There will be a DJ playing queer artists and performances from drag to spoken word from 6.30pm – 8.00pm, with opportunities to perform on the day if the mood takes you!

What to do on Sunday
If you’re still going strong after Saturday, first of all, we salute you. If you’re still up for continuing the party, then you’ve a stronger constitution than us and you’ll be glad to know there are still tickets available to LoveBN1Fest (from £37.50), the Sunday part of the festival at Preston Park that celebrates our fair city.

You can also continue the party at the Pleasure Gardens, where there are sparkly events galore. Our top tip is the Big Gay Barn Dance (2.00-m – midnight; from £5) where East London’s The Glory cabaret crew serve up “Wild Wild West realness” and the outdoor line-dancing (2.00pm; free) is always heaps of fun, too.

If you’re feeling partied out, then a beach-side sauna session may be just the ticket.

Or… make some bread…
with a workshop at Real Patisserie where you’ll learn to make five different types of bread to take home, with lunch and freshly backed chocolate fondants *drools* included (11.00am- 4.00pm; £80).

Finally, we’d like to wish you all a very happy and safe Pride – enjoy yourselves and look after each other!