After an emergency meeting at London City Hall, organizers of World Pride yesterday announced a drastic scaling-back to the July 7 event which now will be a mere walk, without cars, trucks, or disco floats. I ask you, How can it be pride if we don't literally elevate go-go boys above the common man? Also out of luck are the many participants who can't walk miles and needed to ride. The SoHo street party has been canceled. The Trafalgar Square rally has been shortened, eliminating some confirmed entertainers and human rights speakers. And the start time has been moved earlier, from 1:00pm to 11:00am, vexing travelers who already purchased rail and bus tickets based on the later hour.
A longwinded release says the problem is money. No one noticed the till was empty until eight days prior to the event.
“Each and every year, Pride London needs to achieve some serious commercial targets to fund the event – and this year, targets are even higher than before, because of increased cost, the sheer scale of the planned event and mounting pressure to deliver a world class event. To a backdrop of a more difficult economic climate and tough sponsorship calls considering everything that is happening in London this year, fundraising from both corporates and from within the community has been more challenging than ever. Despite creating a strong sponsorship base for this year’s planned event, there is, in the week leading up to the 7th of July, still a shortfall.”
Peter Tatchell says, "The promised extravaganza looks set to descend into a chaotic damp squib. Visitors from all over Britain and the world face disappointment. It will do great damage to London’s reputation just three weeks before the Olympics.”
Happily, Pride Scotia kicks off tomorrow in Edinburgh exactly as planned.