Review: Pride in the Park, Southampton Day #2

Review: Pride in the Park, Southampton Day #2

By Mabel Wellman.

Pride In The Park 2024 continued into the 9th June – just like every other year, this Pride festival lasts for two days.

It was noticeably quieter on Sunday. However, the music, amusements and food and drink stalls continued to entertain all who attended.

It was great to see the diverse groups of people attending the event – as a volunteer and attendee of several Pride events each year, these events do feel like family gatherings, where I see and catch up with many people from the year before, which is always fantastic to be able to do.

On listening to the music over the whole weekend, it was disappointing that so much of what was on offer was covers of other artists’ music rather than original music. Despite that, many local artists and performers were included, which is fantastic to see for growing events.

A highlight was Hunting Hearts who performed on Sunday afternoon and boosted the energy of the event higher than it had been for the rest of the weekend with their original music. Previously Hunting Hearts has been a headline act for Pride In The Park and several other Pride events nationwide, I would love to see them return to this in the future.  You could hear Hunting Hearts performing from the far corner of the site as far as the Bargate!

The event being at Hoglands Park rather than Palmerston Park was a refreshing difference this year. In speaking to other attendees, the more open space this created did help prevent people from feeling overwhelmed, however on the Sunday especially this did make the event feel emptier than expected. This coupled with the toned down music lead to a more sluggish atmosphere than previous years.

With the extra space Hoglands Park provides (if they choose to remain at venue) it would be great to see Pride In The Park include a main stage and an acoustic stage, like they have had at Palmerston Park.

From Greek dishes, to noodles, pizzas and grilled cheeses, there were plenty of food to choose from. The pricing was normal for festivals, however this is still quite expensive for the portions of food being served. Pride In The Park, compared to other Pride events however, does allow people to bring in their own food and drink (excluding alcohol) – so despite the prices this year, the event does remain inclusive to people regardless of whether they can afford the food or not. Despite the inclusivity, Pride In The Park would do well to reflect on feedback about the food and look to provide more affordable and better quality food at future events.

One thing it has been welcome to see is stalls open in the middle of the field for people to stay underneath – it wasn’t terribly sunny this weekend,  but this has provided respite for festival-goers in the hot weather.

It must also be praised that this event has remained a safe event to attend, with very respectful security, a section dedicated to keeping children entertained, and a peaceful feeling.

There have been changes this year for People’s Pride Southampton and the newly made company Firefly Festivals who ran this year’s Pride In The Park event – which probably made the organising of the event more stressful, so the organisers and volunteers of the event have persevered incredibly well to make sure this event returned to the city and was something to be proud of.

Many people who attended on the Saturday did return on the Sunday, which shows this has remained a special event in Southampton which we cannot wait to return in the future.

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Review: Pride in the Park, Southampton – Day #1