After two years of online and indoor events, Bristol Pride is back! 

The full festival returns with two weeks of events and celebrations and the big day on 9 July. The march will be taking place in the morning from Castle Park and the festival will be hosted on The Downs with thousands expected to attend.

Headlined by Carly Rae Jepsen and featuring acts including Canada’s Drag Race winner Priyanka, Katrina of the Waves, and Alexandra Burke, it is going to be a fabulous return to festival life. This year there will be four stages, a circus tent, youth and family zones, and groups from the community. For full listings do check out the online programme.

Peppermint at Bristol Pride
Image: Peppermint at Bristol Pride

However, Pride is more than just the festival itself. Freddie Daw, Bristol Pride Trustee, is here to give you his top picks from the two weeks.

1. March in the parade

Pride started as a protest against oppression following the Stonewall Riots. This year in the UK we are marking 50 years since the first Pride March took place in London, and with increased pressures against the LGBT+ community it is as important as ever to be seen and not be silenced. The Pride March leaves Castle Park at 10.45am on 9 July.

Pride Parade. Credit: Dan Regan
Image: Pride Parade. Credit: Dan Regan.

2. See a new theatre double bill  

Bristol Pride is excited to bring new shows to the Wardrobe Theatre on 29 and 30 June. Both evenings will see two productions – Grandmother’s Closet (and What I Found There) and A Vaccine Full of Joy: A One Night Stand with Astro-Zenica. Both shows promise camp queer thrills with live music and touching stories. See either show or catch both as a double bill.

3. Queer a classic of cinema

Queer Vision is the Bristol Pride Film Festival and this year sees its largest line-up to date (more on that later). This year the Queering Cult Classic is Grease 2. Showing as an outdoor screening at Trinity on 1 July with performances around the show this promises to be a fabulous night, and we all secretly know Grease 2 is even better than Grease!

4. Showcase your proudest pet

The Bristol Pride Dog Show is also back on 2 July in Castle Park. This family-friendly show isn’t Crufts, but celebrates our tail-wagging companions in 10 rounds, including fanciest coat, proudest pet, and most like owner. The show culminates in a round of musical sit! Prizes and rosettes will be awarded and look out for the DAWG greyhound and lurcher parade.

Pride Dog Show
Image: Pride Dog Show

5. Celebrate George Michael’s birthday

Queer icon George Michael would have turned 59 on 25 June, so Queer Vision is hosting a party to celebrate his life. A one-night screening of ‘George Michael Freedom Uncut’ at the Watershed will be followed by a DJ set complete with a beard bar to channel George’s look.

6. Improv across Bristol

Bristol Pride is teaming up with the Improv Theatre again for 2022, bringing back the fabulous 'Dragprov Revue' who will wittily and hilariously improvise musical numbers in front of you on 8 July. The Wardrobe will also be hosting Pride favourite improvisers with 'Murder, He Didn’t Write' on 28 June. This gender-swapped improvised murder mystery always amazes and should not be missed.

7. Be astonished by the circus

The Bristol Pride Circus night returns on 2 July at Circomedia showcasing phenomenal LGBT+ talent through contemporary circus performance. Be amazed at the skills on show as people defy gravity and gender, make you laugh through comedy, and gasp through daring do. 

Pride Circus Night. Credit: Ania Shrimpton
Image: Pride Circus Night. Credit: Ania Shrimpton

8. See the rest of the Queer Vision programme

The Queer Vision line-up is larger and more diverse than ever. Check out the Watershed for full information and tickets. From ageing makeup artists in ‘Swansong’, to trans identities alongside lesbian bowling teams in ‘Best of Iris Trans Shorts + Death & Bowling’, to challenging ideas around fatphobia for BIPOC in ‘Well Rounded’ - you’ll want to fit in multiple visits to the Watershed and Queer Vision.

9. Geek out and play games

The Bristol Gaymers group invites all LGBT+ people and their friends to gather at Kongs on 3 July to play multiplayer videogames, try out VR, and get stuck in with their great selection of board and card games. This free-to-attend day will be perfect for meeting like-minded people and losing at Mario Kart! In the evening the Improv Theatre will be hosting their social gaming event hosted by the queer over-the-top diva Imogené.

10. Be proud, year-round

It’s been a tough few years, and the LGBT+ community is under more attacks than for a long time. Celebrate at Bristol Pride but raise your voice and make sure you are standing up for equality and diversity year-round. Bristol Pride works with groups year-round, provides support for community projects through its community fund, and helps to raise awareness of issues affecting LGBT+ people, so stay in touch. Have a fabulous Bristol Pride 2022.

Mel C with rainbow flag. Credit: Dan Regan
Image: Mel C with rainbow flag. Credit: Dan Regan

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