EXETER Pride, one of the South West's biggest celebrations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans plus (LGBTQ+) communities, and one of the biggest free Pride events in the country, will take place on Saturday, May 11 with a return of the march through the city centre followed by some exciting events.

The march will start in Sidwell Street and end at Northernhay Gardens where there will be a variety of stalls from local vendors, charity organisations and well-being groups.

Food and drink will also be sold in the park and visitors are encouraged to take along a blanket and picnic whilst buskers and drag acts provide unplugged entertainment.

Music, cabaret, a drag competition, clothes swaps, family-focused events and more will be on offer at Exeter Phoenix, Exeter Library and RAMM, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum. 

Attendees at Exeter Phoenix’s Rainbow Fayre last year were overwhelmingly positive about the atmosphere of the gathering and the incredible acts that performed throughout the day.

This year, Exeter Pride trustees (along with fantastic support from volunteers) have built on the success of the Rainbow Fayre by bringing back the march through the city centre and the reintroduction of Northernhay Gardens stalls for 2024.

Local resident Alan Quick had the idea of holding a regular Pride event in the city in 2008 and it was local LGBTQ+ charity Intercom and a small group of people, including Alan, which co-ordinated the first Exeter Pride.

It was held in Exeter Phoenix and Exeter Library in February 2009 to coincide with LGBT History Month.

The new Exeter Pride logo.
The new Exeter Pride logo. (Exeter Pride)

The first ever Pride march through the streets of Exeter took place in 2010 and in 2013 the event expanded to include a marketplace of local organisations and businesses.

Pride is only possible due to the contributions of volunteers and committee members.

Volunteer co-ordinator Annie Bennett said: “It has been so wonderful to see the numbers of people coming forward to work with us this year to ensure Pride 2024 includes a march and outdoor stalls in Northernhay Gardens. We welcome anyone who would like to work as a volunteer this year. Please get in touch via: [email protected]  to help out!”

The march will include giant rainbow flags, Street Heat samba band, Morris dancers, roller derby and thousands of representatives from community groups and organisations. Any group that would like to take part can apply by emailing: [email protected]

Katie Moudry, Chair of Exeter Pride said: “So many people said how much they missed the march in 2023, which is why we are delighted to welcome it back this year, along with our marketplace in Northernhay Gardens.

"This year is a special year for us as it is the 15-year Anniversary of the first Exeter Pride, our crystal anniversary, and we want you to push out the boat on the SPARKLE this year in your costumes to celebrate!

A version of the new Exeter Pride logo.
A version of the new Exeter Pride logo. (Exeter Pride)

“There have been many positive changes for LGBTQ+ people since 2009, including the 2010 equality act and the legalisation of same sex marriage in 2013, as well as greater representation in film, television and the media. Pride is a wonderful time to come together to celebrate everything we have gained during these years.

“But we also recognise the struggles we face as a community, particularly our trans and gender diverse members, who face issues with access to healthcare and intense political and media hostility. We are committed to supporting them in their fight for equality and acceptance - Exeter Pride is, and always will be, a protest as well as a party. 

“We are so excited to welcome you – whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or are an ally – to Exeter Pride 2024 and to show the world we are here, we are proud, and full of energy to make our world a more inclusive and positive place."

The committee wishes to thank all those who have stepped forward to volunteer, host and participate in this year’s Exeter Pride. 

For more information and the latest updates follow Exeter Pride on social media - Facebook: Facebook.com/exeterpride or Instagram www.instagram.com/exeterpride / @exeterpride 

Alternatively, visit the Exeter Pride website: www.exeterpride.co.uk .

If you are a music or drag act and would like to apply to perform at this year’s acoustic corner in Northernhay Gardens email: [email protected] .

If you are a business or organisation who would like to find out more about our sponsorship packages, please email: [email protected] .

For applications to have a stall in Northernhay Gardens, email: [email protected] .