Benidorm Pride 2011 definitely on!

BENIDORM PRIDE, being held on 21-23 October, is definitely on!

This was the resounding message from Benidorm Gay Business Association (BGBA) following last week’s EWN article where Jose Luis San Nicholas, chair of the group, Gay Friends of Benidorm, had claims aired, where he questioned the legal standing of the BGBA,  casting doubts over the legality of the event.

At a meeting between the BGBA and EWN at the start of this week, EWN were shown papers clearly evidencing the wholly legal status of BGBA as a registered non profit organisation with the Spanish tax authorities , pre dating by months the assertion of Sr. Nicholas, and showing them to be wholly incorrect.

The reference in last week’s EWN to Sr. Nicholas diverting partygoers to a gay pride event in Gran Canaria also appears to have been erroneous, as the event for 2011 took place in May of this year, and there is apparently no event scheduled for October in Maspalomas.

The whole impetus to organise Benidorm’s first gay pride event started back in April this year, explained  Julia Grant, the Secretary of BGBA, following an approach to her from Benidorm’s City Hall. BGBA was then formed with the aim of representing gay interests in the town, and the organisation, which now represents some 70 businesses, took on the mantle of organising the forthcoming Pride event.

For the first time ever, the substantial gay community in Benidorm were drawn together to speak with one representative voice in the form of the BGBA.

“We want to put on a good safe event to be organised and operated by the gay community for the benefit of the whole of Benidorm,” said Ms Grant, and she went on to thank the assistance of the City Hall.

“This will be a community orientated and controlled event whose main purpose is to raise money for charity.” Added Tony Walsh, BGBA’s chairman.

And community event it is; there are at present 40 to 50 local volunteers to help marshal the many events, in addition to the hundred volunteers from the three main charities benefiting from Pride’s proceeds.

“We wanted this event to be different” said Ms Grant, explaining that most other Gay Pride events are ticketed, whereas here a voluntary contribution policy has been adopted, where those attending are asked to contribute what they can before entering the many participating venues by simply placing money in a bucket held by one of the many volunteers. In addition pledge bracelets are on sale for €10 which gives the wearer the status of having in effect, paid up front for entry into events.

Only three specific events are ticketed, and these take place on each of Pride’s three days, known as Heaven and Hell, Fiesta Blanca and Frenetika, full details of these and of any information concerning the three days of festivities can be found on the organiser’s website, including information on how to volunteer, wristbands, artists and much more.

All UK artists who are appearing are doing so without charge, and are flying in especially to participate.

As at last Monday throughout Europe, an incredible 6.2 million emails were to be sent out by the gay information site Gaydar, flagging the event. As time draws on it is proposed to reveal the names of headline acts through carefully timed press releases.

Ms Grant estimates that 5,000 people will attend this first event, which she emphasised is to be the first of five annual Prides as sanctioned by Benidorm’s City Hall.

“Without the Mayor (Sr. Navarro), there would be no event. He has been one hundred percent behind us from the start”. Said Ms Grant. Her view was wholeheartedly supported by the other committee members present, Tony Walsh, Philip Garnett ( Communications Secretary) and Michael Underwood ( Treasurer).

EWN was also informed that in addition to the five year commitment by the Ayuntamiento, Benidorm is also funding the stage and lighting equipment, and the policing of the entire three day event in a show of cooperation and solidarity for something that helps to promote Benidorm.

The main shows will run during the day at the beach adjacent to Benidorm’s Dove Park. With only a few weeks remaining it is advised that the above mentioned website is checked out for updated details of attending artists and timetables, as well as checking out press releases. The event will include areas for children, as the emphasis is on “quality entertainment for everyone,” providing a showcase for Benidorm, and everyone from the town, according to the BGBA.

By Paul Deed

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