Peter TatchellVeteran activist Peter Tatchell, legendary performance artist David Hoyle and ska rockers Wobbly Bob headline the first Happy Valley Pride Festival in Hebden Bridge.

There has been a long standing LGBTQ community in the West Yorkshire town – and along the whole Upper Calder Valley – attracted to its bohemian reputation, but a shocking incident was the catalyst for this festival which runs from 8-14 August.

The team behind the volunteer-run organisation were shocked by some homophobic graffiti they saw in the town. Their reaction was to transform the hate message into a positive piece of interactive artwork for the local community, which quickly evolved into the week-long festival.

Mike Stephens, Chair of Happy Valley Pride, said: “We are so excited to be delivering the first ever Pride festival in this town. We’re honoured to have Peter and David – such powerful voices for LGBTQ rights – at our festival but also touched by the community spirit that is driving our event.

“Happy Valley Pride isn’t just about LGBTQ lives in the Upper Calder Valley, it’s about everybody coming together and uniting against prejudice.”

No-one has done more to change the experiences of the LGBTQ community in this country than Peter Tatchell who for a long time was often a lone voice braving death threats to tackle prejudice across the country. He rose to prominence in the 1990s through the direct action group OutRage! and was savagely beaten by dictator Robert Mugabe’s henchmen when he protested the homophobia of the Zimbabwean government.

Peter Tatchell will be giving a rare intimate talk at 4pm on Saturday 13 August at the Birchcliffe Centre entitled ‘The Unfinished Fight for LGBTQ Rights’ with an open Q&A afterwards.

David Hoyle

In the evening entertainment local Socialist venue the Trades Club hosts a show featuring Huddersfield’s Wobbly Bob, alongside legendary, anti-drag queen, David Hoyle with his unique mix of polemic, pathos, provocative politicking and high comedy.

Hoyle came to prominence in the 1990s as the Divine David, a kind of anti-drag queen whose lacerating social commentary – targeting both bourgeois Britain and the materialistic-hedonistic gay scene, which he called ‘the biggest suicide cult in history’ – was offset by breathtaking instances of self-recrimination and even self-harm.

Hoyle killed the Divine David off during a spectacular show at the Streatham Ice Arena in 2000 and retreated to Manchester for ‘a period of reflection’.

As well as the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, with which he is most closely associated, Hoyle has performed at the Soho Theatre, Chelsea Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and most recently at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club

Throughout Happy Valley Pride the community owned Picture House cinema will be showing LGBTQ films including The Girl King, My Own Private Idaho and Holding the Man.

Full details of all events are online at www.happyvalleypride.com with tickets available online.

To find out more about the Happy Valley Pride Festival you can follow the not-for-profit organisation on Facebook, Twitter@appyvalleypride or visit www.happyvalleypride.com.

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