Bristol Pride organisers: 2012 was our biggest and best festival yet
ORGANISERS of Bristol's Gay Pride festival said this year's event had been the biggest and best yet.
Around 3,000 people took part in the colourful Pride parade on Saturday from Berkley Square, down Park Street and to College Green.
The parade, led by the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Peter Main, danced to the beats of the African Sambistas samba band, while revellers from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community dressed in colourful costumes and waved rainbow flags.
The parade and festival were the climax of a packed week of events under the banner We Are: Proud, which saw dance and music performances across the city, including a flash mob at Cabot Circus and a launch party at the Under the Stars boat at Harbourside.
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Events through the week included a sports event involving LGBT teams and pride members joining forces with the Bristol Shakespeare Festival to put on a number of pop-up performances including a gay re-working of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Film nights were also held along with a history day while a party at Frogmore Street with fireworks at midnight heralding the start of festival day.
The party continued after the parade on Saturday with entertainment on College Green, with two live music stages and three performance areas. X Factor finalist Kitty Brucknell was among more than 40 acts taking to the stage to a capacity crowd. There were performances by award-winning Tanya Hyde, Bristol's biggest LGBT choir Singout Bristol and eight-piece female funk band Meet your Feet as well as Booty Luv, S Club and The Lady Gaga Experience.
As the evening drew in, chart sensations Nikki Belle and Bright Light Bright Light thrilled the crowd before headliner Martha Wash took to the stage performing a string of number one hits from her time with the Weather Girls, C and C Music Factory and Black Box.
The festival reached an exciting climax with a party at the O2 in Frogmore Street featuring 40 different performers including aerial artists from Circomedia and a headline act by Queen of Hearts.
The festival was unaffected by the EDL and counter demonstrations in the city with organisers saying the number of people joining the fun had increased on last year.
Organiser Daryn Carter said: "We had a lot of people come to Pride and we were not disrupted in any way by the demonstrations in the city.
"People preferred to come to Pride to promote the quality and diversity of the city and to celebrate what makes Bristol great.
"The parade was more important than ever this year with people wanting to show their support to the LGBT community but to also make a stand against prejudice of any form.
"This has been one of our biggest years so far and at one point we had to stop people coming onto College Green as we had reached our capacity of 10,000 people.
"This year the local business community has really got behind us and supported the event and many of them reported having their busiest Saturday for months."