London Pride – O2 Pride Party

​It happens every year. Without fail before and after Pride in London I’m left in an emotional state that large volumes of beer and food doesn’t help to subside.

Me on the morning of Pride in London

Yes, if you’ve not already gathered. Pride in London has been and gone once again. On Saturday 8th July we made our way down to London for a weekend of rainbow flags, outrageous outfits and a stunning show of solidarity with the LGBT* community. This would be my third year at Pride in London and it never fails to amaze me. The parade evolves every year and this year was no exception. A lot of brands had rainbowed themselves for the day. It was outstanding.

Our attendance at Pride grows every year. I remember in 2015 when we first attended Pride in London. We had an astonishing 23 people on our bus. This year we had 65. With an additional waiting list behind that of people wanting to get involved in the party.

As you’d imagine, security was heightened all around London this year. I wanted to pet the drug sniffing doggo who was noseying around our bus. But alas, I was advised it wouldn’t have been my best idea to date. Once we’d got the bus past security we were good to go. Decorations began, glitter artists arrived and so did our volunteers.

We even championed the high street, our two oxford street store received a special pride window vinyl wrap. Inside the crowd could win fantastic prizes and goodie bags. Oh and I must mention that we had an ace snapchat filter on the day as well.

Team Pride in London – the fabulous team that kept everyone on the day on point.

GLITTER

We were joined on the ground by 100 dancers from The Gay Men’s Dance Company and 5 street dancers from Slough’s very own Creative Academy. And boy did they keep the crowd moving and really brought the party to life.

Dancers from The Creative Academy

Dancers from London GMDC

We had really ramped up our game in 2017. Ready for this list of things we had brought along for the crowd?

210 Confetti cannons

246 posts of bubbles

1350 Wristbands

1300 Boxes of skittles

1000 Hand flags

700 Face paints

300 bottles of water

50 Wubble bubbles…..

The list really does keep on going.

But none of this could have prepared us for what was waiting for us at Piccadilly Circus.

Due to the nature of the parade there was quite a lot of stopping and starting. One of these places was just at the end of Regents Street. Something weird was happening and the sound system suddenly stopped [perfectly at the end of a song may I add]. When I went to inspect the issue, I found that our generator had overheated and activated a ‘heat protection mode’.

Despite 6 of us all trying to get the sound system to kick back into life, we had to turn the generator off and on again for it to work. This happened at a perfect time as the bus driver was able to come to our rescue.

The driver managed to get it back online, kicking and the crowd was loving it as we played an all-time favourite of mine The Shapeshifters – Lola’s Theme [click to listen]. I’m even listening to it as I write this blog and boy does it bring back the memories of the cheer from the crowd. Anita and I (pictured below) gave each other the biggest hug and high 5 when it worked. Such a relief.

We successfully made it through the rest of the parade without any further issues.

By Mark McWhirter

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