BOLTON is to host its first ever gay pride festival this year.

The event promises to showcase the best of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender)-friendly arts, music and community theatre, as well as a market day, club night and awards ceremony.

The three-day festival is being organised by the Bolton News columnist James Edgington — who is also one half of Britain's Got Talent duo Father and Son — and Warrington Pride manager Mark Geary.

Bearing the slogan Love Bolton, Hate Homophobia, festivities will kick off on Friday, October 16, when a community awards pride dinner will take place at the Whites Hotel, honouring the best of local community groups.

Saturday 17 will see an LGBT sports day and club night (venue yet to be confirmed), followed by an indoor family market on Sunday 18 at the Holiday Inn with youth zone, LGBT information area, bar and acoustic corner.

Mr Edgington, who lives in Harwood, said: "It's high time that Bolton had its own celebration of the LGBT community.

"I have been lucky that I have not experienced major homophobia but when I'm in town with my partner I feel a bit wary of others just in case they say anything.

"I know others aren't so lucky. I was shocked by the figures in The Bolton News which said that homophobic crimes had doubled within a year.

"We have chosen that weekend because rather than going head to head with Manchester Pride, we want to do our own and get as many people into Bolton as possible."

Mr Edgington, aged 32, added: "We're starting small with a view to growing in the future. We've set up social media pages and have been overwhelmed with the response, so it's been an organic growth so far.

"Ideally in the future we want to build on this and arrange a proper march, which would be fantastic to see."

Sarah Kierman, aged 20, runs the LGBT society at The University of Bolton.

She said: "We normally go to Manchester Pride but by the time you've got a train and paid for accommodation it can be quite costly, so it will be great to have one on our doorstep.

"It will be great to get the community together for such an event and we look forward to getting involved with the parade."

For regular updates about the pride weekend, follow @PrideBolton and, or visit