Home-grown stars to headline Pride event
Two of Carlisle's homegrown musical talents - Lee Brennan from 911 and Matt Pagan from Collabro - will be bringing their bands to the city for this year's Cumbria Pride event.
Lee, who topped the charts with A Little Bit More in 1999, will be among the main acts at the huge celebration of diversity that is again expected to pack the city centre this summer.
While operatic boy band Collabro are set to top the bill, following on from names such as eighties favourite, Marc Almond, and nineties chart star Whigfield.
Cumbria Pride, now in its eighth year, has grown from a small start to seeing thousands taking part.
Glenn Anderson, who has been involved with Pride since the start, spoke of his joy at how the event has taken off.
He said: "To see Cumbria Pride on the scale it is now is pretty special. We have made an impact.
"People have really got behind Pride and we are lucky that we have a lot of sponsors who continue to support us. Every little helps.
"We had thought about moving the event out of the city centre and into a park but we’re not quite ready for that yet."
This year it will take place in the city centre on Saturday, September 16 and will concentrate more on local acts.
Mr Anderson, who is part of the organising committee, said: "We have Collabro as our headline act this year and 911.
"We are concentrating on local talent.”
Other acts to appear include The Tailormade. The group of three formed while they were studying at the University of Cumbria.
They have since supported acts including Lemar, Rebecca Ferguson, Will Young and Busted and also performed to more than 20,000 people at Pride in London in Trafalgar Square.
They are due to support Olly Murs and Little Mix on their tour this year.
Singers Georgie Braggins, Tom Andrews, Victoria Roberts and Ross Alexander will also perform.
Cumbria Pride began with a small following in the Calva Bar at the University of Cumbria.
It then moved to a hotel, off London Road, for a couple of years.
This will be its fourth year in the city centre.
Mr Anderson said: "For me there have been four stand out acts at Cumbria Pride: The Venga Boys, The Three Degrees, Marc Almond and Whigfield.
"It was a special moment when we got the rainbow flag flown from above the Old Town Hall.
"That shows how far we have come."
Last year, the event welcomed the county's police and crime commissioner, Peter McCall, and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who helped organise the first Pride event in London in 1972.
Mr Anderson added: "We welcomed a number of guests who had appeared at European Pride events too."
Fundraising activities to raise cash for the big day are already underway.
A Pride Ball was held at The Halston Hotel on Warwick Road, Carlisle, last month.
A fundraiser is also being organised for July.
Ross Alexander will host an eighties party night.
It will take place on July 15 at the Ex-Services Men’s Club on Albert Street from 7.30pm to 12pm.
There will be an eighties-themed best dressed competition and a raffle.
Ross will be performing hits from his forthcoming debut album Glitter & Twisted.
Cumbria Pride has the support of a number of organisations, including Carlisle-based CN Group.