The first three festivals were actually called “Pink Lace”. The very first festival was held in 1997 on Broad Street, which was closed for traffic.
Stalls from various groups and organisations lined one side of the street and several bands gave performances on the steps of Broadway Cinema.
The fears that the event might be a focus for troublemakers proved groundless … and that has continued to be the case at all subsequent events.
The second festival in 1998, was more ambitious and took place in the grounds of Nottingham Castle. “More” is the key word. There was more of everything:
Organising such an event requires a much planning and consumes a lot of time for those who are involved and who are working without payment.
The third festival in 1999, again used the grounds of Nottingham Castle and continued to build on previous years.
The music was on bigger scale (and volume) than previously … some of the sedate residents of The Park, adjacent to the Castle, complained about the noise.
The third Pink Lace exhausted the organising committee, which decided to leave the following year’s event to others.
The name change to “Nottingham Pride” came in 2000 along with a new organising committee.
The venue also changed from the Castle to the Embankment (“Bent by the Trent”, was the headline in the local QB newsletter).
Though well-organised, the event was not wholly successful. Moving out of the city centre and splitting the event across two days led to a decrease in the numbers attending.
2001 was the year of the 2 Prides. The Pride Committee and the Pink Lace committee both planned events, which resulted (to use a term borrowed from atomic physics) in “mutual annihilation”, though the Pink Lace committee claimed that they cancelled because of Foot and Mouth disease.
It was 2003 when Nottingham Pride was successfully revived, mainly due to the efforts of Biddy McMeel from Outhouse. This time the venue was the Arboretum and about 5000 people came along.
The Arboretum was again used for the 2004 Nottingham Pride.
The organisers were more ambitious in gathering organisations for stalls and catering and the music on the Arboretum’s band stand was more varied.
As in 2003 year, the Pride Committee seemed to be favoured by good weather and the numbers were up by a thousand or so on the previous year.
2005, people were getting used to the idea that Nottingham Pride was a regular festival that was held on a sunny afternoon at the Arboretum.
The Nottingham Evening Post (once rather homophobic) gave coverage to Pride before and after the event.
Numbers attending rose to about 8000 and everyone (in the words of Wallace and Grommit) had a grand day out, including those who had wandered into the Arboretum unaware that it had been taken over by poofs and dykes.
To see later Nottingham Pride Festivals, click HERE