Big names on the bill for Happy Valley Pride Festival

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Organisers of the Happy Valley Pride Festival are calling on revellers to “unite against prejudice” at the first event of its kind in Hebden Bridge.

The group itself is the brainchild of local residents who were left shocked and outraged by homophobic graffiti they saw in the town.

It was then transformed into a piece of interactive artwork for the community, which quickly evolved into the wider concept of the week-long festival.

Taking place in the town from August 8 to 14, the festival has attracted some big names, including human rights activist and campaigner Peter Tatchell and ‘anti-drag’ queen David Hoyle.

Mike Stephens, chairman of Happy Valley Pride, said: “We are so excited to be delivering the first ever Pride festival in this town. We’re honoured to have Peter and David - such powerful voices for LGBTQ rights - at our festival but also touched by the community spirit that is driving our event. Happy Valley Pride isn’t just about LGBTQ lives in the upper Calder Valley, it’s about everybody coming together and uniting against prejudice.”

Peter Tatchell added: “It’s great to have Pride events in big cities like London and Manchester, but it’s also important to have an impact in smaller cities and towns. That’s why i’m coming to Hebden Bridge and I’m really excited about being part of the Pride celebrations.”

The main festivities will centre around Hebden Bridge Town Hall on Saturday, August 13.

Entertainment will include a treasure hunt around the town, a ‘Pink Dog Show’, where visitors can show off their prized pooches and foodies csan get their competitive juices flowing in a baking competition.

The Picture House will showcase a variety of LGBTQ films throughout the festival, including The Girl King, My Own Private Idaho and Holding the Man.

On the Saturday, Peter Tatchell will deliver an intimate talk at the Birchcliffe Centre at called ‘The Unfinished Fight for LGBTQ Rights’ with a rare opportunity for a question and answer session afterwards.

This will be followed with evening entertainment at the Trades Club, featuring Huddersfield Ska Rock band Wobbly Bob, alongside David Hoyle.

And as for the dress code - extravagant and fabulous is encouraged as organisers encourage visitors to be “loud and proud at the most fabulous party in town”.

The Happy Valley Pride art exhibition, launching today at Nelson’s Wine Bar, will run alongside the festival.

For more information about the festival and art exhibition, visit: www.happyvalleypride.com