The organisers behind one of Bolton’s most popular events have reflected on the success of this year and are looking to the future – including the 10th anniversary of the event in 2024.

Kev Wright, and Rob Wright, festival directors for Bolton Pride, a non-for-profit organisation which brings together the diverse communities of Bolton, said they are happy with the growth year-on-year and are excited for next year’s event.

Speaking about the success of this year, Kev said: “I think 2023 was really good, more successful than I thought it would be.

“We had approximately 12,000 people maybe 15,000 over the three days, so it was really good, and it was really good to see everyone come together again on the square.

“It was very vibrant and full of colour, and we are looking forward to next year now.

“We just want to thank all of our supporters; it is a real community event, and we are looking forward to 2024.

“Next year is our third year of running it and this year certainly showed it is going from strength to strength.

“Even if only 100 people turned up at the event it is still a success because it is happening, there are some countries that you can’t be yourself and nothing happens, this isn’t a target event, it is a success no matter the number of people who attend.”

Rob also shared his thoughts on the successes of pride and what could be improved, as well as the plans they are looking at for the future.

The Bolton News: Rob and Kev Wright, festival directors for Bolton PrideRob and Kev Wright, festival directors for Bolton Pride (Image: NQ)He said: “This year we made some changes which made the event a lot bigger than the previous years including the stage moving to in front of the town hall steps, the size of the event and the parade changed starting from the University of Bolton making it bigger and better and more prominent in the town.

“This year we also changed the operational hours and added the Friday evening from 5pm to 11pm rather than doing a smaller launch party.

“We also had stall holders so this year we had about 43 stall holders whereas last year we had about 33.

“This is all really positive stuff, and, in a sense, we overachieved on our goals.

“Like for like, year on year, we have grown and that is a positive for the future.

“The only negative which we couldn’t control was the weather, this year the weather has been weird, but we have had a lot of positive feedback and the event has grown and we have taken some learnings.

“Focuses for the future include continuing to grow it and hopefully bring in more supporters. "We want to make sure the parade is prominent and keeping the stage on the town hall steps.

“Next year is 10 years of Bolton Pride and we are looking at doing something for the birthday, generating ideas and coming up with what the theme might be, so watch this space.

“Next year we would love to see the support from more Bolton businesses, it is a success showcasing local talent.

“They don’t have to be LGBTQ; it is all just about celebrating Bolton and the community.”

Rob said their main focus is bringing the community together and making sure everyone feels welcome.

The Bolton News: Bolton Pride returned to the borough in JulyBolton Pride returned to the borough in July (Image: NQ)He said: “One of my biggest things when I stare out into the audience from the main stage is the diversity; you see the interfaith families, and it is not just your typical LGBTQ, and it makes me feel like we were doing something right.

“When I stand on that stage, I feel a bit humbled and overwhelmed myself because when I see people’s faces it reminds me of my first pride and how I am doing something for my community.

“There is an increase year on year, but if you asked me, it doesn’t matter what the numbers are, the fact is that we are accommodating, LGBTQ+ is part of your DNA, it is not a nice to have it is a need to have, we host this event for a wide range of people.

“It is not about the numbers, its about making sure that we are putting on an event for the numbers including Boltonians and allowing people to come out and feel safe and celebrate who they are as well as appealing to outer boroughs.”

The date is not yet confirmed for next year’s pride event, but it will be around the end of July, early August.

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