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Review: Birmingham Pride 2022

Carrie Humphries


The event kicked off on Saturday with a gargantuan Pride parade through Birmingham city centre, as at least 8000 participants marched from Centenary Square to Hurst Street. Crowds of well-wishers were treated to a delightful and colourful parade along the route, as a mass sea of faces from a variety of cultures and backgrounds united in the perfect show of acceptance and love.

Later, party-goers flocked to Birmingham’s gay village for street parties, and Birmingham Pride’s new festival site at Smithfield opened to offer two days of dazzling entertainment. While some revellers enjoyed the fun fair and smaller stages dotted around the streets and Smithfield, the Cabaret stage hosted some of the UK’s finest drag talent, including Lady Bushra, Yshee Black, Fatt Butcher, and current UK Drag Race competitor, Danny Beard.

The busiest stage throughout the weekend was the Main Stage, as attendees were treated to a melting pot of both new and established artists. Saturday was headlined by local superstar, Becky Hill, who put on one hell of a show and belted out her biggest hits in a pink, sequined jumpsuit, despite having only jetted in from America a few hours before. Rising afrobeat star Darkoo and choral dance collective House Gospel Choir also offered outstanding performances on the Saturday.

Sunday’s main stage offering was a more retro affair, with some of the best dance artists from the 90s and early 00s giving the audience plenty to dance to, including Phats & Small, Livin Joy and Rozalla. Drag Race alumni Tia Kofe and S Club Allstars also made appearances later in the evening, and warmed the audience up nicely for performances from Sunday night’s headliners, Mel C and Steps.

It may have been several years since Mel C‘s Spice Girls heyday, but she still gave an energetic performance worthy of her old nickname, Sporty Spice. Fans seemed thrilled as she took them on a journey through some of the band’s back catalogue and also her solo releases.

It seems like a match made in heaven that Steps were booked to headline Birmingham Pride this year, as they also celebrated their 25th anniversary. Fans enjoyed hit after hit, including 5,6,7,8, Heartbeat and Stomp, as the band bounced around the stage wearing shimmery silver outfits. The quintet’s shows may be sugary sweet, but they are always fun and offer a reassuring ray of light in dark times, much like Birmingham Pride itself.