Mud, mud (not-so) glorious mud, Pride 2006
“Having organised the community events at Pride 2005 I thought I had the experience to do an even better job at Pride 2006. This was the controversial year that involved £10 wrist bands, security gates and the Saturday events in Cannon Hill Park. It was also the year that we thought we couldn’t be more unlucky with the weather (until we experienced Birmingham Pride 2007 that is!)
When I arrived in the park, some council workers were trying to fill in some of the worst of the mud puddles with earth (actually this just made them muddier). The community groups were all to be housed in a big marquee belonging to a load of arty crafty people who were using it for the Lord Mayor’s Show the following day and they were very territorial about it, insisting on leaving their caravans on the spot I had earmarked for the kids' play area. I had gone mad with hiring equipment and had several car loads of kids' climbing frames and games to bring, unload and set up, on some hastily bought tarpaulins (a mistake, they just form bigger puddles, the rain can’t run away!).
But crowds of people still turned up at the park, through perhaps not in the numbers hoped for. The intermittent rain got lots of visitors racing for the cover of the community groups' marquee where everyone was networking and in good spirits. In breaks between cloudbursts an enthusiastic audience gathered at the 'sports arena' and I held the the dog show (won by Samangelina's dog), the tug of war, handbag hurling, and various kids’ and adults’ races.
One of the races was won by a silvery semi-naked angel, complete with wings, who had travelled up from London, who slid rather dramatically through the finishing line on his backside. Set for a night of clubbing, he left the scene caked in mud, shivering and wings rather bedraggled.
On the Sunday there was meant to be a chill out day back at the Bromsgrove Street Car Park, sorry, I mean Village Green, turfed for the occasion. It was so wet that the bars had decided not to bother setting up in the beer tent, the bouncy castle was too wet to bounce on, I sent the clown home and barely a soul braved the torrential rain. The only thing that went ahead as advertised was Rainbow Voices, Birmingham’s LGBT choir, who moved into the empty beer tent and performed to around 40 brave, dedicated but sodden fans who had turned up to hear them.”
Contributed by: Lesley Pattenson, 55