I was invited to the first ever Isle of Wight Pride on 15 July 2017, as well as being the first ever pride event on the island it's also the only pride event in the UK to be held on a beach.
Travel was down from Waterloo to Portsmouth and Southsea on Saturday morning on South West Trains from there you can get a bus to the Hover terminal to take what I believe is the worlds only remaining commercial passenger hovercraft service. Hovercraft services between the UK and France stopped a number of years ago. Despite the journey time of around ten minutes they still handed out prosecco to celebrate the occasion.
We were travelling on a specially chartered service and the hovercraft took us directly on to the beach next to the VIP area for the event.
Arriving directly on the beach was a great experience and the event had the same friendly feel as Newcastle Pride. With Newcastle Pride coming up this weekend it'll be interesting to compare. This year will be the 10th Newcastle Pride so I'm sure they'll have something big planned.
So it was nice relaxing on the beach enjoying a few beers and enjoying the entertainment. There was also talks by LGBT people from the island to remind us why pride events still matter. Prior to the election their previous MP, Andrew Turner, described LGBT people as a "danger to society". He stood down at the election and the new MP, Bob Seeley, is more supportive of pride and attended the parade.
As I was travelling on the charter hovercraft it meant I missed the parade at 11am, so next year I will try and attend that too. The afterparty was fun too, I think, alcohol dims my memory! I'm happy I had a late check out of the hotel though.
I'll be back in 2018, but before then I'll try and have another weekend on the Isle of Wight and explore what else they have to offer.
Make it a great 2018
If you want to see the Isle of Wight Pride build on the success of their first event then there's a couple of things you can do.
- Consider making a donation
- Follow @IWPride on Twitter so you'll know when the date of the next event is confirmed
I'd certainly recommend making a weekend of it, but if you can only spend a day it's still worthwhile and whether you go by boat or hovercraft it's only a short ride away from the mainland.
The VIP and afterparty tickets were very reasonably priced and are another way to help support the event.