Former boy band Blue will be among the acts painting the town pink this weekend for what is hoped to be the biggest Blackpool Pride event yet.
Fingers will be crossed for good weather but rain has never stopped play before, as the town’s gay and gay-friendly venues throw their doors open for the annual extravaganza and celebration.
The all-grown up Blue – comprising Simon Webbe, Duncan James, Lee Ryan and Antony Costa – say they are looking forward to their appearance, on Saturday, on North Pier.
They are no strangers to the resort, having performed at the 2003 Illuminations Switch-On and Simon says they can’t wait to sing on the North Pier stage.
The 33-year-old said: “I’m really looking forward to it. “We want to use this as an opportunity to re-connect with everybody and do some of our older hits.
“I know it’s been a long time coming, but it would be nice to see lots of people at the Blackpool gig, singing along to the words of the songs. We just want people to come along and have a great time.”
Blue had number one hits with Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word, If You Come Back and Too Close but split in 2005 when all four members decided to embark on their solo careers.
But they reformed last year and reached 11th place – scoring 100 points – with their song I Can as the UK’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.
And the boys can’t wait to perform at Pride.
“We have done Manchester Pride before. It’s a massive gathering. It’s great to see everyone out, showing their love. It’s great people can come together to celebrate their identity. We are born and meant to be free to have fun and laughter and try not to have as many worries.”
Blue won’t be alone on the pier. A spectacular line-up of live artists will also be performing throughout the day including kitsch pop group Scooch, 80s icons Toyah Wilcox and Hazell Dean, the flamboyant international performer Ikenna with her tribute to Whitney Houston, Soraya Vivian and dance divas Angie Brown and Tina Cousins.
There will also be performances from popular Britain’s Got Talent finalists Father and Son and New Bounce.
The local line-up includes, Miss Cybil Du Vaux, Rob Eagle, Emma Louise Jackson, Johnny Roxx, Sara Cheston, Fran Collins, Tom McLeod, Tranny Minogue and Vicky Spencer.
The non-stop pier party and live music event aims at making Blackpool Pride bigger and better than ever and boasts four entertainment arenas featuring a host of acts plus pop up bars, food, exhibitions and market stalls.
Miss Cybil Du Vaux, who will be hosting in the pier’s the Carousel Bar, said: “It is always a fantastic day and the response from the crowds is always amazing.”
Tom McLeod, Blackpool Pride entertainer of the year added: “I played at last year’s Pride and it was amazing, I loved seeing the crowds enjoying themselves while I was on stage and received some great feedback.“
Blackpool Pride official wristbands can be purchased in advance from North Pier box office in person, or by calling (01253) 623304 from 11am to 3pm daily or they can be booked at www.prideblackpool.com, or www.ticketmaster.com.
VIP wristbands are £35 and standard wristbands, which allow access to all daytime areas, are £10 for adults and £5 for children.
The full line-up for Blackpool Pride, plus much more information, can be found at www.prideblackpool.com.
Pride also boasts an exclusive appearance live on stage at Flamingo of Basshunter. One of the world’s most in demand commercial dance artists, he has notched up nearly two million friends on Facebook, 30,000 Twitter followers and more than 600 million video views on YouTube.
Pride weekend gets things started tonight with a Queen Street Party from 6pm courtesy of In The Pink and Kaos featuring Deviance vocal duo and Pink tribute act Stacey Squires.
Tomorrow from noon X Factor’s Sami Brookes and vocal group Luminites will be performing and on Sunday, X Factor favourite Johnny Robinson will be performing. all three parties feature local DJ’s ands guest performers.