X Factor stars Union J and Lloyd Daniels were among those who performed in Lincoln on Saturday, as Lincoln Pride celebrated its fourth anniversary this weekend.
We sent our reporter Max Norstrom along, where he spoke to Phil Yeo, the event’s assistant organiser.
Phil (21) is a graduate of the University of Lincoln having studied media production until graduating this year.
Although he is now working for Google in Dublin, Phil is still heavily involved in Lincoln Pride as part of the four-person-strong organising committee.
Q: What is your favourite part of Lincoln Pride?
Phil: It’s the months of our lives that go into the event and at the end of it making an event that we’d like to go to.
I love every single element but the parade has been a highlight. It’s been amazing to see so many people joining in and everyone having fun.
Q: How would you describe the Lincoln LGBT community?
Phil: I think it’s a very tight-knit community and we’re very very lucky to have it. I think that because there’s only one gay bar in the city and it’s constantly changing and the managers do huge amounts to sponsor events, if you don’t want to go there it is hard to feel included.
I think it’s a shame that there aren’t more people who come, and you’ll see people here who’ve never been inside the bar who will come along to see what it’s like. I really hope this can open their eyes to show them that we’re just really friendly.
Q: Why do you think holding Pride events is important?
Phil: We get asked this a lot and anyone who asks that question won’t understand how we describe it, because a few years ago I had stuff thrown at me, people called me a faggot and personally, I thought “how do we deal with hate like that?”
Can I deal with it by shouting back and getting angry? Or we could throw a massive party in the street that all ages can come to and join in, completely free and fill the streets with colour, music, joy and love. Surely that is a better testament to who I am and who those people are.
Any time someone is abusive, it is coming from a place of ignorance. Even if we have people coming to this event who are shouting at us, it’s opening a dialogue and that’s vital. At the end of the day we make up a minority and it’s important for people to know that we exist and we’re just like everyone else.
Q: Have you been involved in organising the past Lincoln Pride events?
Phil: I got into Pride because I was working at The Scene – an LGBT venue in Lincoln – to fund my final year. I found a real community and family there, and when I found out they have a big involvement in pride I wanted to see what I could do to help.
It started with doing PR and VIP in 2015, and now I’ve found myself sourcing sponsorships, organising the parade, recruiting volunteers, creating the website and dribs & drabs in between. That’s nothing compared to what the rest of the committee do though as it’s a huge operation for four people to sort out.
Q: How difficult was it to organise the event this year?
Phil: It was a challenge. We had to change our location due to circumstances in the city square. We looked really hard and talked to as many people as we could and finally settled on the Brayford.
We always use feedback. After each event we use this to plan next year’s Pride. The biggest thing people have been asking for three years is a parade, but with all of the road closures it has been hard to sort out. But after an agreement with the City of Lincoln Council we sorted out our route. I think it’s been brilliant. It was small but mighty.
Q: Were you involved in choosing the performers and was it hard to choose them?
Phil: We have a collaborative effort in choosing music – there are only four of us on the committee so we have to decide everything. People were crying out for Lloyd Daniels, so he’s on. People said they wanted a big name, so we got Union J. It’s all decided from feedback – what do people want and what do they like?
Q: How many volunteers are involved?
Phil: Our volunteer numbers vary a lot from year to year but especially from different locations. We had a total of 10 when we had the parade – in terms of the community – but then we had friends and family helping too. In total we have a team of around 40-50 workers.
I fly over from Dublin each time we need to have a meeting. I take time off work to go and do work, but it’s all worth it.
Q: Has Lincoln Pride involved itself with the University of Lincoln?
Phil: We have. We have lots of volunteers from the uni as it will go towards the Lincoln Award (a Students’ Union recognition scheme for volunteering). We can also provide a reference to any of our volunteers.
The LGBT community at the uni were by far the biggest part of the parade. They have a massive stall here and they’ve been working hard to put together their own banner. It really motivates us to make this.
Q: What would you want for next year’s Pride?
Phil: I’d love it to be even bigger – for the parade to be bigger. We had to keep it small this year so we could find our feet, but next year we want to make it bigger and better. We want it to be all along the Brayford.
Lincoln Pride saw the event host its first ever parade through the city of Lincoln in the morning, with live music playing in the afternoon and an after-party at The Scene in the evening.Tweet