Island’s first Arran Pride event is a spectacular success

The pride processions extends all along the seafront along the main road.

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Words and photos by Colin Smeeton

The shorefront in Brodick was transformed into a celebratory festival atmosphere as hundreds of participants, and even more spectators, enjoyed the first Pride event on Arran.

The family-friendly event, held in bright sunshine last Saturday, began with a procession which was more like a lively party with bright colours, loud music and Pride’s famous rainbow flag.

Participants marched along the flag-bedecked Brodick seafront, from the ferry terminal to the grass area behind the Brodick Hall, where they enjoyed an afternoon in the sunshine and a picnic in the park.

Organised by Arran Pride, the event attracted supporters and representatives from  a number of organisations, both on and off the island, for a day of celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and other people, but more importantly, to celebrate their diversity as a social group and for all people to be comfortable with who or what they are.

As much a movement for demystifying stigma and misconceptions, the Arran Pride event was also an occasion to celebrate the achievements of the national pride movement which saw its first UK pride march taking place in London in July 1972.

Organisers Michael Gettins, Kenny Leishman, and a small organising committee, wanted the Arran event to be bold, colourful, extravagant and lively, and it certainly was.

Glasgow-based percussion band SheBoom – which performed at Scotland’s first pride event in March 1995 – was responsible for the rousing and dynamic drumming during the march and later played a rousing set at the park.

And the Arran Pipe Band, which took part in the march, also performed for the appreciative audience enjoying the afternoon’s sunshine before the speeches began.

New provost Anthea Dickson and Arran councillor Timothy Billings addressed the audience with short, informal talks while a selection of pride stalls and pride merchandise were available in the hall.

One of Arran’s busiest and best attended events in many years was rounded off with a celebration ceilidh in the Brodick Hall where the energetic Boathouse Ceilidh Band entertained revellers until midnight.

Organiser Michael thanked all of the participants, the organising committee, and the various bodies and people for attending the event, which exceeded all expectations and which he hopes has helped to spread a positive message and awareness.

Owing to the success of the event, Arran Pride will become an annual event with the next one already planned for Saturday June 3, 2023.