York Pride 2020 cancelled but LGBT festival vows to be on parade next year

Parade halted: No York Pride celebration in 2020

YORK Pride 2020 on June 6 is off, the annual LGBT festival scuppered by the Coronavirus lockdown.

“Following the advice of the Government and Public Health England on mass gatherings and social events during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, we have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel York Pride 2020,” says event director Greg Stephenson, on behalf of the committee.

“This has been a heart-breaking call for us to make after all the work we have already put into this year’s event. However, we would never put the health and wellbeing of our pride-goers, volunteers, artists or traders at risk, or stretch the resources of our emergency services at a time when they are needed more elsewhere.”

Re-arranging the York LGBT Pride Festival 2020 has been ruled out. “York Pride takes the whole year to plan,” says Greg. “While we have been carefully considering all options, as it is unclear how long current measures will remain in place, or how the situation may develop, it is sadly impossible for us to reschedule for later this year.

“With so many uncertainties, we ultimately believe this is the right decision to protect our long-term future.”

Instead, the committee will concentrate all its efforts on “delivering you a truly amazing York Pride in 2021”.

“We’d like to say a huge thank-you to all our sponsors, stallholders and suppliers for their support this year,” says Greg.

“Thank you to all of you too for hopefully understanding why we have had to make this tough decision, because nobody is as disappointed as we are. In the meantime, please let’s all look after ourselves and our community.”

CANCELLED: .“This has been a heart-breaking call for us to make after all the work we have already put into this year’s event,” says York Pride event director Greg Stephenson

York Pride will email directly all those who have stall bookings and parade bookings and those who have agreed sponsorship for 2020.

For stallholders who have not paid yet, we will simply cancel the booking for York Pride 2020 and you will need to reapply next year for York Pride 2021,” says Greg.

“For stallholders who have paid, thank you for paying your invoice; it has been much appreciated.”

Greg outlines two options for those with a stalls invoice. “Our preferred option would be to carry your booking straight over to York Pride 2021,” he says.

“This cuts down admin work of processing refunds for our small team of volunteers. We’d imagine this is the best option for other community groups, charities and regular attendees at our event.

“If, later down the line you cannot make our 2021 date, we would of course offer a full refund.”

The second option is the provision of full refunds for those who require it. “These are difficult times and we understand that for many of our traders you will need these funds. We’d imagine this is the best option for food and beverage stalls who have paid larger pitch fees.”

Whichever option is chosen, stallholders are required to fill in a form on the York Pride website, yorkpride.org.uk.

York Pride wristbands

The committee has addressed the matter of parade applicants too. “Thank you to all those who have applied to be in our 2020 parade,” says Greg. “With the emergence of Covid-19, we took the decision not to invoice at the time we normally would. Should we be in the position to cancel, it was fewer refunds for us to process.

“You will need to reapply for York Pride 2021 when applications open later in the year.”

Greg thanked York Pride 2020’s sponsors. “We have been overwhelmed with the response. I will be contacting sponsors directly to discuss arrangements,” he says.

York Pride is making plans to re-book all acts for 2021. “We will also be making a deposit payment for those who wish to be re-booked,” says Greg. “We hope this small gesture will come in handy as many of our acts will be self-employed and suffer the most through the current situation.”

In a closing message to the public in York Pride’s official statement on the website, Greg says:We have taken steps to ensure our financial risks through cancellation are minimised.

“We have already ordered things such as York Pride 2020 wristbands. We will be looking to sell these for a suggested donation of £2 in the coming weeks and would appreciate any support you can offer at this difficult time. Thank you to everyone for your continued support. All the best and keep safe.”

The best things in Viking life are free at Jorvik Viking Festival. Here’s why…

Best Beard Competition: men, women, children and even dogs can compete at the 2020 Jorvik Viking Festival

WHAT are the best ways to see the Vikings for free at the 2020 Jorvik Viking Festival from February 15 to 23?

Families on a budget visiting the York festival can enjoy a taste of Viking life without breaking the bank, say the organisers, who are providing a host of events throughout the nine days free of charge.

Run by the York Archaeological Trust charity, the celebration of all things Norse takes over the city centre for the February half-term holiday.

Accessibility and education are at the heart of the trust’s aims, prompting festival manager Gareth Henry to explain the importance of having a mix of free and priced events. “Sharing stories about York’s past has been a huge part of what the trust has done over the past four decades,” he says.

“While we have to charge to off-set the costs for some of our events, we’re always keen to make sure there’s plenty to see and do that is completely free of charge, including the most impressive annual parade in York.”

Eric Bloodaxe catches up on the history of the Vikings in a book-reading session

The 2020 Jorvik Viking Festival free events are:

  • The Viking Encampment in Parliament Street, running daily throughout the festival from 10am to 4pm. Meet re-enactors, historic interpreters and traditional craftspeople in their living history encampment at the heart of the city.  Everyone has their own tale to tell, so take time to watch them working and listen to them sharing stories of their lives and wares.
  • Sagas on the St Sampson’s Square Stage at regular intervals each day; times will be published on a blackboard each day. Listen to heroes, explorers and settlers as they relate their stories and watch them demonstrate the battle techniques that helped to create their reputation as fearsome warriors.
  • Inaugural Viking Costume Competition, open to the public to take part at St Sampson’s Square Stage, February 15, from 3pm.The Vikings were clean, well groomed and often well dressed as a display of wealth and status.  Don’t merely watch the Vikings strut their stuff; join in!  Fashion a Viking throw or tunic out of an old blanket, scarf or top, make a cardboard shield and, hey presto, the Viking catwalk awaits.
  • The Annual Strongest Viking Competition, St Sampson’s Square Stage, February 22, 11am. Feats of endurance and strength abound as Viking competes against Viking to be proclaimed the strongest of York’s warriors.  Choose your champion and cheer them on.
Vikings on the march through York
  • The Bloodaxe Reading Challenge. Particularly good for local children, the challenge to read as many books as you can before the festival has been set up in association with Explore Libraries.  It gives the chance to win tickets to meet award-winning author Hilary Robinson as she launches her new book Jasper: Viking Dog at York Explore on February 12.
  • The Best Beard Competition, St Sampson’s Square Stage, February 22, 3pm. Beards of all description are welcome, from naturally grown to man-made, in a competition open to men, women, children and even dogs. Free entry, plus the chance to win prizes.
  • March to Coppergate, leaving from Dean’s Park, by York Minster, on February 22 at 1.30pm, when the city streets will be filled with Vikings of all ages, social status and profession as their war cries echo around the city centre. More than 200 Vikings are expected to march down to Coppergate, finishing at the Eye of York in a display of costume, weaponry and Viking style.  

Details of all the events at this year’s Jorvik Viking Festival can be found at jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk.