I wanted to share my thoughts on why May 17 – International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia #IDAHOBIT matters in 2019.
I’ve put a short video together, sharing my experiences as a straight ally and on supporting the LGBT+ community since the mid-80’s. Standing up and calling out those who cannot understand that #loveislove is key to stamping out prejudice.
Happy Valley Pride is an eclectic, alternative and inclusive, week-long festival for everyone. Celebrating LGBT+ life in Hebden Bridge and surrounding areas it will be taking place, earlier than in previous years, during the week of 22 to 28 July 2019.
Founded in 2015, the festival has rapidly grown in size and stature – last year attracting over 3,000 attendees across 15 events and 7 days. Set in the stunning location of the Calder Valley (recently recognised in National Geographic’s Cool List 2019) they have built an enviable reputation for creating a distinctive, LGBT+ arts-focused programme.
Having already announced the crowd-pleasing return of legendary London-club night, Duckie as early as January (after last year’s hugely successful sell out in just 48 hrs!). Further performances are now confirmed and creating one huge LGBT+ buzz about Hebden Bridge town and beyond.
Straight from being a smash success of Edinburgh Fringe 2018, Jonny Woo’s All Star Brexit Cabaret, will bring Jonny Woo and Richard Thomas’s ‘sequins and satire’ to Happy Valley Pride, in their uproarious, yet seriously glamorous satire about the referendum of 2016. Jonny Woo, the ‘king and queen’ of London’s alternative scene, and musical theatre’s ‘enfant terrible’ and creator of ‘Jerry Springer The Musical, Richard Thomas have created a brilliant score, full of unforgettable songs including ‘Referendum-dumb’, ‘Swivel Eyed Loon’ and ‘The Ballot Box Ballad’.
Continuing the comedic theme, Suzi Ruffell makes a stop-off from her extensive UK tour and various tv and radio appearances to join the Happy Valley party. Regarded as one of best up and coming acts on the circuit Suzi’s innovative style captivates audiences with her engrossing tales of social ineptitude. Lauded as ‘a real stand up gem’ by The Guardian, this young independent woman celebrates her working class roots with a sideways look at the world.
Once again, Happy Valley Pride have aimed to please with this exciting mix of of the uplifting and alternative and are promising even more to come with another crammed-campful of week-long entertainment.
“With new dates and a committed team of volunteer trustees, we couldn’t be more delighted at how the festival is coming together this year and will be continuing to work with the whole community, particularly local businesses and schools to create a unique atmosphere of LGBT+ understanding and acceptance across the Calder Valley”.
Tim Whitehead Chair
With a growing Committee of volunteer trustees and loyal festival team, they’ve quickly built a strong reputation and year-round profile via social nights, community involvement and regular Trades’ Club fundraiser nights. With plenty still to do, those interested in getting involved email email@example.com
We are now recruiting for Volunteer Trustees to sit on the board and take part in planning and running the festival.
Applications from all would be very happily received, though we would particularly welcome applications from those who identify as trans, lesbian and members of the BAME community, to ensure our board is as widely representative as possible. Candidates with some daytime availability would be particularly welcome.
We are particularly seeking people with strong skills relating to
Happy Valley Pride is an eclectic, alternative and inclusive, week-long festival for everyone. Celebrating LGBT+ life in Hebden Bridge and surrounding areas. This year, it will be taking place earlier than in previous years, during the week of 22 to 28 July 2019.
Founded in 2015, the festival has rapidly grown in size and stature – last year we attracted over 3,000 attendees across 15 events and 7 days. Set in the stunning location of the Calder Valley (recently recognised in National Geographic’s Cool List 2019) we’ve built an enviable reputation for creating a distinctive, LGBT+ arts-focused programme.
The decision to move the festival was taken to guarantee the calibre of artists and performers now expected of Happy Valley Pride, as the previous dates were close to other key festivals, notably Edinburgh Festival.
Our Chair and Festival Programmer, Tim Whitehead:
“In the last couple of years, we have managed to attract an incredibly diverse and reputable range of artists. Camille O’Sullivan (recently voted in the Top 25 Jools Holland’s performances) headlined last year, due to an unusual change in schedule. In 2016, BBC Radio 4 regular, Zoe Lyons was another coup and a total sell out. We were aware of other artists we’d loved to welcome to Happy Valley Pride, yet missed out simply because they were booked for Edinburgh. We’re now planning a superb week, which we’re excited will offer something special for everyone and offer our best Pride yet.
At the heart of this, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to to the local community and businesses who have supported us in funding the festival, such as local artist, Kate Lycett, whose unique artwork donation attracted national interest via our art auction.”
Which brings us on to the first confirmed event for 2019 – the auspicious return of legendary London-club night, Duckie. Having lured them to Yorkshire from their Vauxhall Tavern residency – last year’s inaugural visit to The Trades Club sold out in 48hrs post-announcement. Its cult cabaret line up of renowned performance artists is bound to guarantee Happy Valley Pride will stand above the Pride crowd.
With a growing Committee of volunteer trustees and loyal festival team, we’ve quickly built a strong reputation and year-round profile via social nights, community involvement and regular Trades’ Club fundraiser nights. Working alongside local schools and other community groups, we seek to raise understanding and acceptance of the LGBT+ community via art projects.
With plenty still to do, those interested in getting involved please visit the ‘Get Involved‘ page for more info.
So, when I arrived in Hebden Bridge back in 2003, if you mentioned ducks, it was in the context of the quaint tradition of the busiest day of the year, where a river of yellow plastic ducks are chucked into the river and encouraged to compete with the real ones, on a short journey down river, every Easter Bank Holiday. Let’s not knock it, it draws crowds annually. But this year, we re-defined Duckie in Hebden Bridge.
The anticipation was palpable. As soon as it was announced, tickets sold out in just 48 hours. The Trades already having a reputation for hosting some of the best nights this side of the Pennines, joining forces with a club night that has successfully ran for over two decades. It was the perfect combination of people, place and undoubtedly, occasion.
Happy Valley Pride’s loyal contingent is a true mixed tribe. Often commented on is the fact that so many have ‘escaped’ the city to move here, renounced by many locals as ‘oftcummers’ – it’s always a balancing act. Being part of the community, whilst nostalgically reflecting on a misspent youth in the UK’s cities. And for the LGBT+ community in particular, that obviously comes with a doubtless, crumpled ticket to the clubs of the 90’s and 00’s.
So, did it live it to expectations. As they say in Yorkshire, “By gum”, it did. Outfits were planned, yet discarded on arrival due to the first big downpour in weeks, coinciding with a crammed and sauna-like dance floor. Monster Munch hanging from the ceiling and Readers Wifes playing long-forgotten tunes. It was reminiscent of Narnia meets Nightmare on Elm Street. Dark, sexy, tribal.
Interspersed with brilliantly original cabaret performances from Bourgeois & Maurice (last year’s sell out), new friends, Barbara Brownskirt – (“Judy, Judy, Judy …. Dench” is STILL being repeated as a highlight), Victoria Sin – who knew sandwich-making could be an art form and finally the vision of Ursula Martinez streaking down Holme Street will live on as legendary.
We didn’t want it to end, but of course it had to and it all felt like a dream. There’s talk of turning the tables, with rumours of a road trip – Happy Valley Pride Goes to Duckie. We’re already clicking those red heels and channeling Dorothy ‘There’s no place like Duckie’.
It was reminiscent of Narnia meets Nightmare on Elm Street. Dark, sexy, tribal.
Now in its third year, the festival will be united by a Revolution theme with performances, art and outdoor entertainment.
A strong theme, with their best headliners yet, who have eagerly signed up to participate in the revolution, recognising the unique flavour of Happy Valley Pride’s tone in a town that does things differently. The festival will provide world-class entertainment throughout the week bringing class acts and clubbing together. Headliners already booked to appear are:
Duckie – Legendary London Club Night @ The Trades Club, Saturday 11th August
Whilst most club nights last a few years, Duckie has happened every week for 23 years. For the first time EVER, the original Vauxhall veterans bring their rock’n’roll performance disco-bar to Yorkshire on Saturday 11 August to The Trades Club. Legendary DJ’s, The London Reader’s Wifes will be joined on stage by Happy Valley Pride favourites’ Bourgeois & Maurice, drag artist Victoria Sin and comedian Barbara Brownskirt.
Camille O’Sullivan @ Hope Baptist Church, Friday 10th August
Irish/French Camille O’Sullivan is now an internationally-renowned singer with a formidable reputation for her interpretations of the songs of Cave, Brel, Waits, Bowie, Cohen, Radiohead and more. She has stunned audiences around the world, including a ten-night, award-winning run of shows at Sydney Opera House; London’s Royal Festival Hall; The Roundhouse. The Telegraph recently named Camille one of the top 25 performances of all time on the BBC’s Later with Jools Holland BBC.
Ursula Martinez – Comedy and Performance Artist @ Hebden Bridge Little Theatre, Thursday 9th August
An established international artist, regularly supported by the British Council, Ursula Martinez produces live performance, both solo and collaborative, for theatre, cabaret, site-specific, installation and nightclub. She will present her critically acclaimed show Free Admission which celebrates the inconsistencies and contradictions that make us human, whilst having a dig at some of the mess that is of our own making.
Newly-appointed Chair, Tim Whitehead said “We believe Revolution gives a soul-stirring theme, which will fire up our festival visually, artistically and create comradery amongst our festival performers and supporters.”
Tickets and full programme details to be announced in June 2018
** UPDATE** Due to a great response – we will be bringing the closing date for applications forward to Friday 27th April. Please get in touch ASAP, if you are considering applying.
Happy Valley Pride is Calderdale’s annual LGBT+ festival, promoting inclusivity and diversity for and amongst, the LGBT+ community.
We are now recruiting for two Trustees to sit on the board and take part in planning and running the festival.
Applications from all would be happily received, though we would particularly welcome applications from those who identify as trans or lesbian and from members of the BAME community, to ensure our board is as widely representative as possible.
Skills that we are particularly seeking include:
project and/or event management experience;
fundraising bid writing;
technical IT experience;
book keeping and finance skills.
As with all trustee roles within the organisation, this is a voluntary position. The commitment is generally two evening meetings, per month though this increases around the festival itself (6th to 12th August 2018).
When the team first suggested the ‘Heroes’ theme, it instantly triggered a positive reaction.
We couldn’t shut up for the sheer joy of explaining who we admired and why. Heroes inspire you to follow your dreams, embody your beliefs and give you extra fire in your belly when you need that inner strength. We all agreed this summed up perfectly the positivity and passion we want this festival to be about.
We’ve emblazoned our LGBTQ Heroes everywhere this year and been touched by hearing about everyone else’s choices – either personal or public-facing figures who have made a difference by inspiring people to make a difference.
The Happy Valley Pride Art Exhibition presents contributions from local and national artists’ interpretations of the LGBTQ heroes that have inspired them for their contribution to LGBTQ/civil rights and causes.
Artwork is on display at Nelsons Wine Bar in Hebden Bridge until 6 September and all artists have generously donated a percentage of the sale price to the Happy Valley Pride fund.
The exhibition also includes all 9 of our LGBT Festival Heroes designed and signed by Emma Charleston as A4 sized giclee printed and framed at just £40.
Please do visit to see the full range of fabulous works ranging from £40 to £300
‘Salon’ is the perfect word to describe our ‘Lesbian Writers Read’ event –a reminder of an earlier era when like-minded people would gather in drawing rooms to discuss books, art, politics or simply to enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed atmosphere.
Our local haberdashery, Ribbon Circus in Hebden Bridge provided a delightfully intimate setting, surrounded by displays of coloured wools and ribbons displayed around the walls and filled with whatever the collective noun is for a group of lesbians (All places were soon snapped up and so the venue was fully booked).
Four published authors from across the UK, joined local author and organiser, Jen Silver and despite, Robyn Nyx and Brey Williams being led astray by their sat-nav, ending up behind a herd of cows – all managed to arrive in time.
It was Lise Gold’s first public appearance and if she was nervous reading from her second, recently released romance, Beyond the Skyline – it didn’t show.
Cari Hunter was planning on editing out the swearing in her selected excerpt from the third in her Dark Peak series, A Quiet Death – but after Helen’s robust introduction to the evening, she muttered, “I’m leaving the ‘f*cks’ in.”
Brey Willows read from, Fury’s Bridge, the first in a series and left us wanting more by ending on a cliffhanger.
Robyn Nyx’s reading from the first book in her Extractor Series, Escape in Time, took on an even darker hue, leading us into the past in Nazi Germany during World War II.
Jen Silver read from her most recently published book, Running From Love. Beforehand, Jen’s wife asked her which bit she’d selected and when told said, “Oh yes, the fridge and the cat!” Not quite how I would summarise that part, but if you want to make your own mind up here’s a link to the podcast
A massive thank you to everyone who came, including the authors who did a fantastic job, both reading and answering questions afterwards.
Special thanks to Ribbon Circus owner, Happy Valley Pride Trustee and host, Helen Baron who ensured glasses were topped up and the donation bucket was jingling.