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.”
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.
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.”