Words: Markus Bidaux
Amazingly, the city where the theories of gravity were devised and DNA and stem cells were discovered has never hosted a Pride. This omission in the Pride calendar is compounded by the fact that Cambridgeshire has the UK's second largest population of LGBTQ residents.
Thankfully, Cambridge's Pink Festival Group are putting things right by hosting the first of many (we hope) Cambridge Prides on 8 June.
Attitude went to the University Arms hotel in Cambridge to meet with with Lara Jaffey, the Chair of the non-profit charity Pink Festival Group, Robert Ferguson and Gordon Bateman, two members of her committee who also run the monthly Dot Cotton gay club night.
The Cambridge University Arms
Lara started off by telling us explains why Cambridge has not had a Pride: "In 2003, we started the open-air Pink Festival, which was essentially celebrating the LGBTQ community. Our last Pink Festival was in 2010 and attracted around 10,000 attendees, but we took a break to run various events like having Andy Bell perform at the Corn Exchange and hosting cabaret tents in the summer.
"And then a couple years ago, there was a kind of organic group that sprung up that wanted to host a Cambridge Pride. So we offered to support them and then it became apparent that actually, we should work together. So Pink Festival is now running Cambridge Pride."
The highly anticipated event will also be the UK's first river Pride Parade. The city is famous for its leisurely punt rides along the River Cam, but we suspect a drag queen or two may cause a ruckus under the Bridge of Sighs.
The Pink Festival's Robert, Lara and Gordon
"We are working with eight LGBTQ community groups and they will be decorating their own punts. One will represent youth, another people of colour, the senior and trans communities will be represented too. And each will be painted a different colour of the rainbow flag. And then we'll have a couple of punts that go on for hours with LGBTQ artists performing shows on them," explains Lara.
The flotilla will disembark in Jesus Park in the centre of Cambridge where a main stage, marquees and food vans will be waiting to welcome all.
The free event will see local artists like the band Keltrix and drag act Felicity Flaps on the main stage, while DJs play the Band Stand and the marquees are filled with talks, poetry, comedy, the Great British Queer Bake Off and even Power Ballad Yoga will be offered. When the sun sets the Enchanted Cinema will play international LGBTQ short films, programmed by 'Queers in Shorts'.
Finally, Robert and Gordon will host a ticketed Pride After Party at Revolution Vodka Bar from 8pm to 3am.
Robert sums up what he wants Cambridge Pride to be: "The great thing about Cambridge is it is a safe place. So we are hoping it will be like Brighton Pride in that way that you have an old granny sat at the side with their grandkids waving a rainbow flag."
The ‘Cambridge Pride Package’ at University Arms is exclusively available for two-night stays on 7th and 8th June 2019.
Bookable now until 5th June and rates start from £399 for single occupancy or £449 for double occupancy in a Classic King room.
The package includes a slice of homemade Rainbow Cake in-room on arrival, a Bloomsbury Boozer cocktail in Parker's Tavern Bar, daily breakfast at Parker’s Tavern and a complimentary late check-out.