Last weekend we headed to the Brickyard in Carlisle to cover Pride in North Cumbria’s celebration for the youth work they’ve provided to LGBTQ+ Cumbrian’s over the past two decades.
Pride in North Cumbria (PINC) has been providing social support, training and counselling to young people in the Carlisle area for the past 20 years.
They've proven to be a vital lifeline for many that were in need of a safe space to be their authentic queer selves.
Some of the artwork created by young people who are part of Pride in North Cumbria
arts made in a workshop led by Beard Synergy a Cumbrian spray paint artist
The event kicked off with Scottish based international and award winning showboy and MC Tom Harlow who had everyone getting down to boogie town with his sultry vocals singing to the 1997 hit by Baccara ‘Yes Sir I Can Boogie’.
Harlow also sung a mash up of Flowers by Miley Cyrus and I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor which was appealing to both the aul’ queers and new.
Tom Harlow belting out Yes Sir I Can Boogie under the disco lights of the Brickyard
In the interval after Tom’s mystifying performance we spoke with Leo Raab who came down to the event to support their friend who was due to performer later on in the evening. Leo had this to say about the event:
“What pride means to me is bringing a lot of people together, not only just sexuality and gender but bringing a lot of happiness in one place and it’s amazing to see”.
Up next was another class act Scottish performer Mr Ziggi Battles, a drag artist and Singer-songwriter who brought an unbeaten energy to the celebrations with his vocals and Freddie Mercury inspired dance moves.
Mr Ziggi lived up to his name for his closing song performing Life on Mars alongside Pam Eland the service manager for PINC, who for one service user Stuart is an inspiration: “Discovering the charity PINC was an escape for me because I could actually fit in with people. I met Pam who runs PINC and she’s amazing, PINC wouldn’t be here for 20 years without her and it’s been going a very long time because of her”.
Ziggy taking his performance to new heights giving the audience an
intimate performance standing on a chair belting out anthems
Things winded down a bit as we were introduced to the next act La’l Tethera, with lead violinist of the folk band Ada paying tribute to PINC for helping them many years ago when they were a young person.
Feet stomped in tune to their track Laid Back Liz and the jaunty melodies mixed with a few down tempo songs was received well by the crowd allowing them to relax a bit after belting out the more iconically gay anthems from previous acts.
The three piece folk trio fiddling away on stage
Up next and ready to get the crowd on their feet again was Anarchy Kween a Drag artist who was ready to bring the house down coming on stage with their comical lip-syncing to Hard Out Here by Lily Allen.
Anarchy Kween brought both the house and crowd down with their Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent.
The interactions with the audience made for comedy gold which had us all of laughing. Anarchy laughed their t*ts off as well - no quite literally they came flying off during the end of the performance!
Welcome to Anarchy! This Kween tore the house down with comedy, lip-syncing and more
Seph Santiago who performs under the moniker Ichi’s Ghost took to the stage after Anarchy with his electro industrial, experimental hip-hop sound and brought crunching reverbs, skittering skeletal beats over emo rap vocals which made for some serious head banging dancing.
The zeal Seph brought was hype and the heavy hooks combined with the lightshow shaped up to a gripping performance. When we asked Seph what 20 years of PINC means to him he had this to say: “It’s resilience, LGBT+ freedom, it’s rural, it’s northern, it’s an outlet for creativity, ever since it’s been going. It has been fearless and 20 years of PINC is incredible”.
Seph Santiago belting out his guttural rapping to the crowd
The MC of the night Marc Allen closed the party by reminding us all what we were all there for and that’s 20 years of one of the best LGBT+ spaces in Cumbria which continue to advance the rights of young LGBTQ+ people in Cumbria through activism, social support, workshops and creativity in the face of adversity.
Here’s to the next 20 years and beyond!