Coventry Pride hosts an online festival to connect the city's LGBTQ+ communities during lockdown

This week’s Saturday Shout Out goes to our friends at Coventry Pride, who have been exploring creative ways of continuing with their annual community festival during lockdown.

On Saturday 20 June, the Coventry Pride Facebook page will play host to Still Proud, a single-day digital arts festival designed to bring the city’s LGBTQ+ community together in an online celebration. Ahead of the event later this month, we spoke to the organisation’s Head of Marketing, Dylan Parrin, to find out more.

“The idea really is to create a virtual celebration full of arts and culture, which can be really accessible to everyone. Our current thinking is that there will be a live feed on Facebook that will be full of different videos and different media, so hopefully there’ll be something that everyone can enjoy.

“We’re not sure about start time or duration just yet, but we’re hoping that it will go on for at least a couple of hours or so. But we also appreciate that most people probably won’t want to sit and watch the whole stream for two hours, so the plan is that once a video has played in the stream, it will then be posted separately on Facebook so people can watch it in their own time.

“Some of the content also won’t necessarily be suitable to go in the stream. For example, Coventry Libraries have contacted us to ask if somebody could do a book review of one of their LGBT books for kids, which we thought sounded really cool, but probably a bit too niche for the main feed, so we will be releasing a few other things separately as well.”

The charity is currently calling for local artists and organisations to get in touch if they would like to be part of the event – you can register your interest via the online form on their website. Applications are welcomed from people working across all different artforms and media.

“The brief is completely open. The only thing we would say is that it should probably be family friendly, but other than that, we can do whatever connects people. We have taken the angle that we want it to be quite community focused, which is really in keeping with what our festival is usually about, especially when you compare it to something like Birmingham Pride which is quite commercial.

“It’s also worth being aware that we don’t currently have any funding for this, so we are trying to do it as cheaply as possible. One of our trustees is writing a bid to try to get some funding from an emergency Covid pot, but as it stands at the moment, we’ve only got our day-to-day operational fund which shouldn’t really be used for this. We’ve had a few professionals come forward asking for crazy amounts of money but that’s not a route we’ve been able to go down.

“The other thing to be aware of is that we say ‘live’, but strictly speaking it probably won’t be. We’ve played around with live and it’s pretty cool, but there is an element of risk, especially if we’re having to give external people access to our channels – there are probably a few GDPR rules we’d be breaking there! So we’re thinking that everything will be pre-recorded, but we’ll put it out ‘as-live’, similar to what Coventry BID have been doing on their Facebook page.”

Still Proud will take place on Saturday 20 June. For more information and updates or to register your interest as an artist, please visit the Coventry Pride website by Wed 10 June. You can also make a donation to support Coventry Pride here.