The Foyle Pride Festival 2023 has kicked off, and with celebrations across the week marking the 30th anniversary of Pride in Derry, this year’s unmissable event promises to have something for everyone.
Started in 1993 by a small group of community activists, including Michael Kerrigan, one of the founders of the Sexual Liberation Movement in Trinity College Dublin 50 years ago, Foyle Pride has gone on to become one of the island’s most successful non-commercial Prides.
With this in mind, the theme of the 30th anniversary of the Foyle Pride festival is ‘grassroots’. The theme not only honours the formation of the city’s Pride but, as Jim Doherty, Chairperson of the festival, describes, it also recognises “the continuing persecution of our people wherever they struggle to survive.”
In the Pride programme, he eagerly stresses, “We will continue to highlight such abuse. We think of our sisters and brothers in Uganda at this time,” in reference to the country’s recently adopted anti-LGBTQ+ law.
In keeping with the city’s traditions, the festival officially launched last Friday, August 18, with the raising of a trans Pride flag over the Free Derry Wall, followed later that evening by the opening ceremony and Annual Pride Awards.
Since then, the weekend saw an array of events take place, including craft workshops, cabaret and disco and Richard O’Leary performing his fantastic one-man show Border Fairies. But fear not, there’s plenty more still to look forward to.
At 7:30pm tonight, Tuesday, August 22, Sandinos will host a free panel discussion, The Ongoing Fight for LGBTQ+ Liberation: Local to Global.
On Wednesday, August 23, The Central Library will host Drag Queen Story Hour with Demi Dé Tourné at 11am. There will also be a screening of the documentary, Our Journeys about the local trans community, followed by a panel discussion from 7:30pm at the Nerve Centre.
Wednesday will also see the Chicken Box Comedy event, including David Doherty, Jebb, Emer McGinnity, and many more take place at Bennigans Bar from 8:30pm.
Thursday, August 24, will see a Q&A with filmmaker John Farrelly at Ulster University Magee Derry from 6-7pm. And The Pride Monologues will show at the Derry Playhouse from 8pm.
On Thursday evening, Sandinos will host two fabulous events, Dusty Grooves Gay Disco/Classics night from 10:30pm and the city’s first-ever People of Colour (POC) Cabaret at 10pm.
Friday, August 25, will kick off with the Creative Queers: Art Market at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin between 12am to 5pm.
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Later that evening, Sandinos will host the legendary David Hoyle in a Cabaret Spectacular from 7pm. As ever, David will be bringing his delectable avant-garde style and will be joined by special guests, Gerry Porter and Abby Oliviera, promising to make this a sensationally unforgettable night.
Saturday sees the big 30th anniversary Foyle Pride parade kicking off at 2pm from Waterside Railway Station. The celebrations will be followed by family fun events and a free party celebration, and, of course, the official afterparty in Sandinos.
Sunday, August 27, will see the festivities wind down with the Annual Mark Ashton Memorial Picnic in St Columb’s Park at 2pm. The Closing Party hosted by Miss Mary Jane will take place in The Tap House from 8pm, followed by the Pride Finale with DJ Jackie at Sandinos from 11pm.
For details on tickets and more, check out the Foyle Pride programme here.
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