Whether you’re a proud member of Bournemouth’s LGBT+ community, you travelled to town on the national Pride festival circuit or you just happened to be in Bournemouth town centre over the weekend of the 30 June – 2 July 2017, you won’t have failed to spot Bourne Free’s extravaganza of free entertainment for all walks of life!
Bourne Free is a group and event originally established back in 2004 to defend and promote the local LGBT+ community in the face of an organised homophobic protest planned for Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens. The team was so inspired by the public response and support that they established themselves as a charity and have grown the celebrations every year since, in a bid to combine entertainment with equality awareness.
For 2017, the theme of the weekend was ‘Superheroes,’ with visitors invited to grab their mask and cape and join the throng! One of the real highlights of Bourne Free every year is the parade, which sees hundreds of people, usually fabulously dressed, march from the East Cliff up to the Triangle in a peaceful demonstration of their own cause or protest. It’s completely free to take part in the parade – simply dust off the appropriate costume and fill in the application form on their website.
The parade starts at 11am on the Saturday up on the East Cliff and takes an hour to reach the Triangle via Bath Road, Westover Road, Hinton Road, Yelverton Road, St Stephen’s Road, Braidley Road, Bourne Avenue, Avenue Road and into the Triangle. The theme for 2017 was Superheroes and 2016 Rio Carnival but, true to form, anything goes!
As soon as the parade reaches the Triangle, the Bandstand in the Lower Gardens starts warming up for its own time in the spotlight. Kicking off at 12:30pm on the Saturday and ending at 4:30pm, the Bandstand hosts an afternoon of family fun and entertainment hosted by the fabulous Lea Martin and Sheila Tackya.
The Triangle area of Bournemouth is the main focus of the Bourne Free pride events. All across the weekend, from Friday night through to Sunday, there’s a packed programme of entertainment here for all to enjoy. Friday from 5pm at the Triangle Arena is Family Fun Night – a completely free event with a family movie shown on a big open-air screen, live tribute acts, guest appearances and free candy floss, popcorn, facepainting and a bouncy castle.
Saturday is a pay-for event, with wristband entry to a full day of entertainment after the parade hosted by Lucinda Lashes. 2017’s event had an impressive line-up with headliners Heather Small, Livin’ Joy, Brandon Block and Phats and Small.
Sunday sees the Triangle welcome the masses again for an outdoor Sunday service conducted by the Metropolitan Community Church. The Bourne Free Celebration Worship is a special Pride service celebrating God’s LGBT+ children and previous years have seen congregational singing, children’s sermons and drag queens followed by a serving of Communion that everyone is welcome to receive.
Bourne Free is all about Pride – pride in who you are, pride in the community and pride in Bournemouth, so make sure you take the time to show your colours at the annual Bourne Free Pride Festival.