Sussex

Brighton Pride: Revellers told stay away amid Covid-19 fears

The festival is going online Image copyright Brighton Pride
Image caption This year the festival is going online due to social distancing rules

Revellers who had planned to take part in Brighton Pride this weekend have been warned not to visit the city for unofficial gatherings.

The annual parade and music extravaganza was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now Brighton council and a rail union have urged people to celebrate online at home following chaotic scenes on the trains in previous years.

Mariah Carey was due to headline, but other performers will be live-streamed.

Image copyright Simon Battle
Image caption 250,000 people flock to the city for the annual Pride festival

Last year, Kylie Minogue headlined the festival and around 300,000 people visited the city. There were similar scenes in 2018, when Britney Spears wowed the crowds.

Mick Lynch, of the RMT union, said: "We have been made aware that unofficial events have been organised this weekend which, combined with other attractions could lead to a surge of passengers that ‎compromises social distancing and safety measures.

"It's important that is not allowed to happen."

This year marks 50 years since the founding of the Gay Liberation Front, and 30 years of Brighton Pride, but organisers said they will celebrate next year.

Phélim Mac Cafferty, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, said: "Although we cannot come together in person to celebrate Pride, we can still fully support and celebrate our fantastic LGBTQ+ communities online with FABULOSO.

"We believe passionately in the transformative effects of Pride and the importance and strength of our diverse communities.

"Moving the celebrations online brings people together during the pandemic in a safe way."

Image copyright Brighton Pride
Image caption Mariah Carey was due to headline the festival, following on from Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears and the Pussycat Dolls

A purpose-built studio in the heart of Brighton has been created to bring people the FABULOSO event.

It will feature performances from "some of the world's biggest LGBTQ+ stars", live presenters, comedy and cabaret, and some archive shows.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) warned queuing systems will be in place and anyone travelling must wear a face covering, in line with government guidelines.

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